Animal activists take another swing at Fresno Chaffee Zoo with ‘Hall of Shame’ spot
For the second time in as many years, Fresno Chaffee Zoo has been included on a list of worst zoos for its alleged treatment of elephants.
In Defense of Animals this week moved Chaffee Zoo out of its annual top 10 list and into its “Hall of Shame.”
The zoo in a statement to The Bee on Wednesday said it “had recently been made aware of its presence on a list produced by an animal activist group” and that “accusations regarding our animal care are inaccurate, out of context, or are completely false.”
This echos sentiments from CEO Jon Forrest Dohlin last year, after the zoo was listed ninth on Defense of Animals’ rankings, which the group says rates zoos on a series of factors such as space (or lack of), unsuitably cold climates and unnatural conditions, reckless breeding and premature death.
Forrest Dohlin said at the time that he didn’t doubt the sincerity of the group’s intentions, but called its statements “distorted or just factually wrong.”
This year, In Defense of Animals claims the zoo’s exhibit gives the elephants limited access to its full four acres and that it features electrically wired trees to prevent touching.
The group also claims the zoo is responsible for “transfer abuse” in the relocation of elephants to and from other zoos for the purpose of breeding.
In Defense of Animals called on Chaffee Zoo “to halt breeding, stop traumatic transfers of elephants, shut down its undersized elephant exhibit, and send its elephants to sanctuary.”
It’s not the only group with eyes on the Chaffee Zoo elephants.
Last year, Nonhuman Rights Project filed a suit in superior court in San Francisco, claiming Chaffee zoo elelphants Amahle, Nolwazi and Vusmusi were being “unlawfully imprisoned and restrained of their liberty. The group asked the judge to recognize “the common law right to bodily liberty protected by habeas corpus of elephants.”
Chaffee Zoo this week said it will continue working to provide “industry-leading animal care, education and inspiration for our guests, and work to save species in the wild through the Fresno Chaffee Zoo Conservation Fund.”
“We believe that the truth about the enriched lives of these magnificent animals is evident in their behavior and the bonds they form with the experts who work with these animals every day.”