To the Honorable Superior Court Judge John L. Segal for ordering the Los Angeles Zoo to make changes in the way elephants are treated at the zoo.
Judge John L. Segal is quoted as writing in his decision, “The evidence at trial shows that life at the Los Angeles Zoo for Billy, Tina, and Jewel is empty, purposeless, boring, and occasionally painful.” While the judge did not issue an order to close the exhibit, he did order the zoo to make changes in how they care for the elephants. Such changes include increasing exercise time for the elephants, rototilling the soil to soften it, and banning bullhooks and electric shock devices.
NHES opposes zoo elephant exhibits in which the elephants:
• Have inappropriate space for roaming and foraging. Elephants typically roam 10 miles a day over ranges measuring hundreds of square miles.
• Reside on hard ground and cement surfaces, contributing substantially to painful foot and leg ailments. Foot disease is a common cause of death in captive elephants.
• Endure conditions that induce psychological and emotional suffering; for instance, living in isolation for extended periods of time.
• Suffer from the inability to partake in natural behaviors, like forming family groups. Infant elephants are often shipped to other zoos or circuses.
• Develop stereotypies, such as swaying or patterned walking, which are considered symptoms of psychological distress.
• Are subjected to inhumane treatment through the use of bullhooks and other negative training devices.
• Live in climates that do not replicate their natural environment, causing them undue stress.
While the judge’s order will help the elephants in the short term, they are not the best solutions for their long-term welfare.
Take Action: Thank Judge Segal for his order to protect the elephants at the Los Angeles Zoo and urge him to reconsider his decision to let the elephant exhibit remain open.
The Honorable John L. Segal
Judge, Superior Court, Los Angeles County
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
111 North Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012