The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed a case from a national animal protection charity about an elephant at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.
Zoocheck is a national animal protection charity with a focus on captive wildlife, that brought forth legal action related to Lucy the Elephant, a 44-year-old female Asian elephant.
“We have issued reports on zoos all across Canada and around the world, said Julie Woodyer Campaigns Director, Zoocheck Canada to Daily Hive.
The legal action undertaken by Zoocheck was related to the government “failing to enforce the zoo standards at the Edmonton Valley Zoo as they relate to Lucy,” said Woodyer.
Zoocheck says that Edmonton Valley Zoo is violating a number of the zoo standards.
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“Zoocheck also fought very hard to get in place the Alberta zoo standards and as you can tell from this action for Lucy we are now having to fight to get those standards enforced,” said Woodyer.
Section III B. 1. of the Alberta Zoo Standards states that “all animals must be maintained in numbers sufficient to meet their social and behavioural needs. Exhibit enclosures must be of sufficient size to provide for the physical well being of the animal.”
Alberta Zoo Standards says that that elephants should never be housed in groups of less than three individuals, and Lucy the elephant lives alone.
“It’s less than ideal for her to be living by herself,” said Edmonton Valley Zoo director Lindsey Galloway in an interview with Daily Hive.
“But what that means is we have to have a health assessment to see if her conditions have changed ever year.”
Lucy is considered a geriatric elephant, Galloway says, and with her respiratory issues, moving her out of the zoo could cause harm.
“Experts who have examined Lucy say that moving her would put her at significant risk,” said Galloway.
“We expect Lucy could live another ten years here, and so she’s not in distress here, she’s being well cared for, why would we put her life at risk if she may not even make it to another location?
“The only option for Lucy that doesn’t put her life at risk is to care for her here for the rest of her life.”
An initial case by Zoocheck was denied by an Alberta judge, and the Supreme Court dismissed their attempt to take the case to court.
“The valley zoo just denies they are in violation, so Lucy and all of the other animals at the zoo have no legal protection at present,” says Woodyer from Zoocheck Canada.
“It means that the zoo standards in Alberta are meaningless, and zoos don’t have to comply with them since the government has no intention of enforcing them.”