Massachusetts Zoo Denies Cruelty to Elephants
Monday, January 26, 2015
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. - A New Bedford zoo is again denying claims it abuses its elephants. The Buttonwood Park Zoo is, for the fifth year, on an annual list put out by the animal-rights group In Defense of Animals, or IDA. The group says the zoo is the fourth-worst in North America in its treatment of elephants. It has two females, 56 and 51-years old. The IDA's Toni Frohoff, Ph.D., Elephant & Cetacean Scientist, explains.
"Both Ruth and Emily, the two elephants, suffer from chronic foot disease and arthritis, leading causes of death for elephants living in small, inadequate spaces in zoos," says Dr. Frohoff.
Zoo officials acknowledge one of the elephants suffered frostbite last year when they got out accidentally in wintertime. They say it would be inhumane to move them elsewhere at their advanced ages and they plan to care for Ruth and Emily until they expire and will not house any more elephants.
Buttonwood Park Zoo Director Keith Lovett defends the facility's care.
"These elephants have had a fairly tough life, but I stand by the care we provide at Buttonwood Park Zoo," says Lovett. "We have a very passionate staff, we have a very passionate community, and they would not stand for the type of treatment that is being accused."
Dr. Frohoff says the zoo shouldn't wait to phase out its elephant program.
"Buttonwood Park Zoo has the opportunity to be heroes or villains in this," she says. "They can be heroes if they finally do what's best and end this frigid fiasco of an elephant program that they have in New Bedford."
Dr. Frohoff says zoos keeping elephants, especially in colder North American climates, are guilty of "captivity in the guise of conservation."
"There is nobody who wants to see these elephants moved if they don't have to," she says. "But theses elephants in our top 10 list really deserve a much better life, should they be able to survive the horrible conditions in which they're in."
get more stories like this via email
A program that would provide food benefits to kids during the summer still needs funding approval from the Oregon Legislature. The state has …
Minnesota lawmakers face growing calls this session to boost access to affordable housing and there is a proposal to lend a voice to existing renters …
Health and Wellness
Legislation in Massachusetts would ban some of the tactics used by "crisis pregnancy centers" to prevent people from having abortions. Many of the …
A new report said philanthropic organizations need to reexamine the source of their wealth, which it asserted often came from systemic racism and …
Americans' confidence in higher education has plummeted but students and staff at Maine's Colby College hope continued community outreach will help br…
It is National Invasive Species Awareness Week, and plants and critters not native to the Northwest are wreaking havoc on some landscapes, including …
Health and Wellness
A new program in a Washington public library system is helping people monitor their blood pressure at home. The American Heart Association has …
By Kayla Benjamin for The Washington Informer.Broadcast version by Brett Peveto for Maryland News Connection reporting for the Solutions Journalism Ne…