Editorial: Lucy the elephant and the silly circus 30
Lucy the elephant with zookeeper Brenda McComb at Edmonton's Valley Zoo on Monday, February 23, 2009.
(EDMONTON SUN FILE)
Friday, August 5, 2011
In a ruling about Lucy the elephant Thursday, Alberta's top court justifiably swatted strident animal rights activists like the pests they are. But it would be too much to hope that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Zoocheck Canada will slink away with their tails between their legs. They may decide to pursue the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, which would be a shame as well as a waste of judicial resources. Alarmist animal rights advocates, who have claimed for years that Lucy is being improperly cared for at Edmonton's Valley Zoo, just can't take no for an answer. We've lost track of all the silly stunts pulled over the years to try to convince the city to move Lucy to warmer climes in the U.S. Money has been offered, both by retired game show host Bob Barker and former Oiler Georges Laraque. There have been protests, Valentine's Day cards urging councillors to "have a heart for Lucy," petitions, deliveries of "elephant dung" cookies (actually vegan squares) to city hall and pleas from actor William Shatner. Even celebrated defence lawyer Clayton Ruby jumped into the fray. Thankfully, the Alberta Court of Appeal set them straight in a two-one decision Thursday, agreeing with a 2010 lower court ruling that concluded the proceedings amounted to an abuse of process. Our courts shouldn't be expected to take over animal husbandry when there are other public bodies with that responsibility, Justices Frans Slatter and Peter Costigan wrote in their majority decision. There is no indication that the Edmonton Humane Society and other such groups responsible for animal welfare are unable to do their jobs, the judges added. Lucy isn't in a circus, but she might as well be, considering what's gone on for so many years. It's time this picayune preoccupation with an aging pachyderm ended. The city has already decided 36-year-old Lucy will be our last elephant. Let her age in place and die among friends.