2 Worst Zoos in North America Here in Boston

2 Worst Zoos for Elephants Here in Boston

International animal protection organization, In Defense of Animals, today released its annual list of the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America, with two Massachusetts zoos featuring on the dishonorable list. Buttonwood scooped #5 worst, and Southwick’s Zoo is shamed in #10th place.

2 Worst Zoos in North America Here in Boston
Buttonwood Zoo is not new to this list and sadly, the USDA has not intervened, despite the fact that this intolerable and unsafe situation clearly violates the federal Animal Welfare Act by knowingly forcing two clearly incompatible Asian elephants to live in the same enclosure together.

Southwick’s Zoo doesn’t keep elephants year-round, but rents them for elephant rides from Have Trunk Will Travel, a company with a history of being notoriously brutal and violent to its elephants.

Now in its twelfth year, In Defense of Animals’ respected list exposes the cruelty behind keeping the Earth’s largest land mammal captive in small, inadequate zoo exhibits that cause a lifetime of misery and lead to premature death.

2 worst zoos in America
“It is shocking that Massachusetts has not one, but two of the worst zoos for elephants in North America” said In Defense of Animals President, Dr. Marilyn Kroplick. “If you want to help protect elephants, don’t visit the zoo and instead help support real conservation efforts that keep animals in the wild where they belong.”

Toni Frohoff, Ph.D., Elephant Scientist for In Defense of Animals said, “Evidence shows that elephants are not thriving or self-sustaining in zoos. Urgent action must be taken to stop greedy corporations from plundering elephants from the wild so they can restock elephants dying out in zoo displays faster than they can reproduce.”

BUTTONWOOD ZOO

Asian elephant Ruth remains the prisoner of another prisoner at Buttonwood Zoo, with no escape.  Cage-mate Emily continues to display aggression towards her, which the zoo now calls “assertion” or “agitation.” So, was Emily was simply showing “assertion” when she bit off six inches of Ruth’s tail in 2006? Ruth’s poor tail was further amputated due to frostbite and a bone infection in 2014. During her recuperation, Ruth was placed in with Emily because the zoo lacked proper holding facilities for separation, and Emily continued to go after Ruth’s wounded tail and to intimidate her in other ways.

The zoo no longer reports the injuries that Ruth endures, and her injuries are even called “self-inflicted.” Instead of doing the right thing and removing Ruth from an abusive and dangerous situation, the zoo continues to keep Ruth as a “companion” to Emily. Sadly, the USDA has not intervened, despite the fact that this intolerable and unsafe situation violates the federal Animal Welfare Act by knowingly forcing two clearly incompatible Asian elephants to live in the same enclosure together. These two are not warming up to each other in their cold, cramped winter wasteland of an exhibit.

“Buttonwood Zoo is forcing elephants to suffer by keeping two highly incompatible individuals in a winter wasteland” said In Defense of Animals President, Dr. Marilyn Kroplick. “It’s time for New Bedford to show that it is a “compassionate city“, as it claims to be, by granting Ruth and Emily an early release from their desperate lives and sending them to a sanctuary where they can be with her own kind in a much more suitable environment.”

SOUTHWICK’S ZOO

Each summer, Southwick’s Zoo hires a California-based company to truck in elephants over a treacherously long distance in order to sell elephant rides to their customers. The zoo has been using Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT), an elephant “rental” company. HTWT has a history of being notoriously brutal and violent to its elephants who are also rented out to be used in other forms of entertainment including appearances in movies, events, and theme parks.

HTWT was caught on video viciously beating elephants, using an electric shock device, and striking a baby elephant over the head and pulling her trunk. These elephants were also observed chained for 12 hours a day, barely able to move back and forth, let alone walk. Last summer, Southwick’s Zoo rented elephants Rosie and Tai. Rosie is seen in undercover footage apparently being jabbed with a sharp bullhook to make her run faster by HTWT.

Not only does Southwick’s Zoo show a blatant disregard for elephant welfare, it apparently doesn’t care about human health either. An elephant named Dondi was previously used to give rides. After her death in 2010, she was found to have tuberculosis. Dondi was the second elephant at the zoo who carried the disease. An elephant named Judy performed at Southwick’s Zoo, despite having been exposed to tuberculosis-positive elephants. Upon her death in 2007, it was confirmed that she had the disease.

Even multiple County Fairs that exist purely for recreation have chosen to discontinue their elephant rentals from HTWT. It is shocking that this zoo – with a mandate to inform and educate – has not yet ceased giving elephant rides to an unsuspecting public.

“It is utterly vile that Southwick’s Zoo sells tickets for visitors to ride on the aching backs of elephants abused by Have Trunk Will Travel” said In Defense of Animals President, Dr. Marilyn Kroplick. “We call on Southwick’s Zoo to stop supporting violence to elephants and end all elephant appearances at the park.”

10 WORST ZOOS:
1 Dallas Zoo, Tex., Henry Doorly Zoo, Neb., and Sedgwick County Zoo, Kan.
2 Natural Bridge Zoo, Vir.
3 Oklahoma City Zoo, Okla.
4 Wildlife Safari, Ore.
5 Buttonwood Park Zoo, Mass.
6 San Antonio Zoo, Tex.
7 Oregon Zoo, Ore.
8 Monterey Zoo, Calif.
9 Buffalo Zoo, N.Y.
10 Southwick’s Zoo, Mass.

HALL OF SHAME
Bronx Zoo, NY

DISHONORABLE MENTION
Edmonton Zoo, Alberta, Canada

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