This Zoo Killed An Elephant For No Good Reason - Employees Call For Action

10/3/2017

In the beginning of February, the Oregon Zoo, in the United States, killed Packy, a 54-year-old Asian elephant. For no good reason.The pachyderm had caught tuberculosis, a medical condition which is sadly fairly common among captive elephants. Most surprising still, according to Toni Frohoff - a biologist working for the American NGO,In Defense of Animals (IDA)- Packy had no symptoms of the illness. He was healthy, lively, and happy. The elephant specialist confirmed:

It's devastating because the information that we have access to indicated that Packy was playful and interactive and asymptomatic of TB. This is not by any means euthanasia — this is murder. 
packy-oregon-4

Source: Facebook/Team Packy

Zoo management's plan to have Packy killed was leaked a few days before thanks to two employees who anonymously relayed the information on the Facebook page, Team Packy. They attempted to gain popular support to put a stop to the execution. In a post on December 30, 2016, it reads:

It appears zoo management and Metro [local government] are about to make the decision to put Packy down and this decision is not based on science, safety or Packy's best interest."It is a risk-based decision made by politicians, attorneys and other officials who fear the future repercussions of keeping him alive.
packy-oregon-1

Source: Facebook/Team Packy

The fear of the spread of this disease does not justify the measures taken. The zoo had other means to control the disease and protect employees and animals, notably a quarantine system which was in place and the usage of protective masks by personnelle. This protocol was in place since 2013 and had been sufficient to stem the risk of infections.Why did the Oregon Zoo still decide to kill the pachyderm? They claim in apress releasethat Packy was euthanized because he contracted a form of tuberculosis which was resistant to antibiotics.

packy-oregon-3

Source: Facebook/Team Packy

"We'd run out of options for treating him. The remaining treatments involved side effects that would have been very hard on Packy with no guarantee of success, plus a risk of creating further resistance. None of us felt it would be right to do that. But without treatment, his TB would have continued to get worse.", explainedDr. Tim Storms, chief veterinarian for the zoo.Tori Frohoff, doesn't believe one word. "If the zoo is going to use the term euthanasia, then I call on them to immediately make public the clinical veterinary documents that support that this was truly to alleviate suffering as the only possibility. I am challenging them."According to the specialist, Packy had just become unprofitable for the zoo. The cost of the elephant's care, who was elderly and couldn't reproduce, was superior to the benefits. "They'll often do this at zoos to make room for fertile, more charismatic animals," she said.

packy-oregon-5

Source: Facebook/Team Packy

Whatever the real reasons were for the death of Packy, his case underlines once more, the absurdity of zoos and the problematic treatment of these animals in these places. The Oregon Zoo has made the list of the 10 worst zoos in the United States 2016, and that's not their first scandal.On the Team PackyFacebook page, a final publication confirmed:

As I am sure most of you have heard, the worst has happened. Packy was put down this morning. We want to thank you all for your help and support in trying to stop this from happening, we can at least live with ourselves knowing that we did everything we could to try to change the minds of the director and assistant director in this matter. Please understand that we will be offline for the most part as we take time to mourn the loss of our beloved family member.
packy-oregon-2

Source: Facebook/Team Packy

Toni Frohoff commends the courage displayed by the zoo employees, who took huge risks by rallying for the elephant. "These individuals were Packy's herd in many ways. They were probably all he had," she concluded, sadly. The Oregon Zoo has refused to respond to media questions and has remained silent on the subject.To avoid this tragic injustice happening again, you can make a donation to the In Defence of Animals campaign, which works for the well-being of these zoo animals.

H/t: TheDodo

* * *

At Holidog, we aim to improve the lives of your furry friends. Enjoy your holidays with peace of mind, knowing your pet is in great hands (find a petsitter near you) and spoil them with our monthly subscription box filled with yummy treats and toys (get your free box here). You can count on us!

* * *

More on this

The Tragedy Of Life In A Zoo Summed Up In One Painful Photo