African Elephant Moved to Tennessee Zoo Over Animal Rights Objections

In May, animal rights groups lost their bid to prevent the Los Angeles Zoo from moving a 42-year-old female African elephant to the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee.

Los Angeles resident Catherine Doyle had sued to get a temporary restraining order blocking the move, but the zoo moved the elephant two days before the scheduled hearing on the restraining order.

Animal rights groups that had opposed the move, including The Humane Society of The United States (HSUS), In Defense of Animals, Last Chance For Animals and Venice Animal Allies Foundation, blasted the move. In a joint press release, the groups complained,

In its attempt to keep [elephants] Ruby and Gita together, Doyle’s lawsuit accuses the Los Angeles Zoo of violating public policy and trust, as well as the California Administrative Procedure Act. It does not cite any violation of the Endangered Species Act. This outrageous ploy on the part of the zoo and the L.A. City attorney was a blatant delaying tactic designed to leave Ruby’s fate in legal limbo and enabled the zoo to carry out their plan of transferring Ruby to the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee, regardless of the elephants’ mutual welfare.

“I believe the L.A. Zoo, with Mayor Hahn’s endorsement, has shown its true colors with this covert operation of moving Ruby under the cover of darkness over a holiday weekend,” declares Gretchen Wyler, VP HSUS Hollywood Office. “The zoo has resorted to reprehensible legal maneuvering to achieve its intractable goal of separating these elephants, and like thieves in the night, has spirited away city property from the residents of Los Angeles.”

“Shame on the zoo for sneaking Ruby away in chains in the middle of the night, taking her away from her home and her best friend, while our request for a temporary restraining order was to be ruled on today,” states Yael Trock, the attorney for the plaintiff Catherine Doyle. “We are not giving up on this and intend to take further legal action.”

The Los Angeles Zoo moved the elephant because the Knoxville Zoo has an interest in developing an African elephant breeding program whereas the L.A. Zoo is in the process of focusing on Asian elephants in a process that could eventually lead to a breeding program as well.


Animal Protection Groups Blast L.A. Zoo for Spiriting Away Elephant Under Cover of Darkness. In Defense of Animals, Press Release, May 27, 2003.

Despite protests, L.A. Zoo Sends Elephants to Tennessee. Carla Hall, Los Angeles Times, May 27, 2003.

Yourofsky Loses It In Tennessee

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ national lecturer Gary Yourofsky showed off the famed ability of animal rights activists to make their case by throwing a fit at East Tennessee State where he was scheduled to talk about vegetarianism.

Yourofsky became angered when he entered the hall where he was to speak and saw a display put up by East Tennessee State’s director of the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, Dr. Brunhilde Toper-Meyer.

Toper-Meyer had placed a number of pamphlets from Americans for Medical Progress, the FOundation for Biomedical Research and other groups with a simple sign saying “Opposing Arguments.”

Yourofsky — who is on record as condoning both arson and murder in the name of animal rights — decided the presence of the pamphlets warranted throwing a tantrum. He became abusive toward Eastern Tennessee biology instructor Sharon Miller, who had invited Yourofsky to talk in the first place, and likened her to the Ku Klux Klan.

In the end Yourofsky grabbed the cart and gave it a hard push, causing the pamphlets to scatter throughout the hall outside the lecture room. Eastern Tennessee State police were called, and the lecture was cancelled.

The most bizarre part of this, is that it surprised Miller. According to the Johnson City Press,

Miller said she was sorry that Yourofsky did not speak, saying he is a powerful orator and the subject of the afternoon’s lecture — vegetarianism — was not supposed to be controversial.

What planet is this woman living on? What did she think she would be getting from someone who once said, “Do not be afraid to condone arsons at places of animal torture” and “I would unequivocally support” an arson that lead to the death of an “animal abuser” at a research lab.

And powerful orator? Does Miller agree with Yourofsky that human beings are herbivores? If she does, she’s certainly not much of a biologist, and if she doesn’t why the hell is she inviting someone to speak whose ideas are patently false?


ETSU event canceled due to confrontation. John Thompson, Johnson City Press (TN), April 5, 2003.

Fund for Animals Can't Shoot Straight on Worst Canned Hunts

The Fund for Animals today sent out a press release listing the “Top Ten States with the Cruelest Canned Hunts.” According to The Fund,

The states making The Fund’s “top ten” list are: Texas, Michigan,
Florida, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Ohio, Maine, Missouri, New Mexico,
Tennessee, Kentucky, and Louisiana. Although advertised under a variety
of names—most frequently “hunting preserves,” “game ranches,” or
“shooting preserves”—canned hunts violate the hunting community’s
standard of “fair chase” by confining animals to cages or fenced
enclosures. The types of animals killed can range from native species
such as elk and deer to exotic animals such as zebras, Corsican rams,
blackbuck antelope, and water buffalo.

Apparently compiling that list of ten states stretched The Fund for Animals’ limited research capabilities. A few hours after releasing it, Fund media coordinator Tracey McIntire was forced to send out a correction that read,

The list of the states with the worst canned hunts should NOT include
New Mexico and Kentucky.

Oops. No word on which states would take New Mexico and Kentucky’s places. The odds are good, however, that The Fund for Animals would be well at home on a list of top 10 animal rights groups that can never seem to get their act together.


The Fund For Animals Announces The Top Ten States With The Cruelest Canned Hunts. The Fund for Animals, Press Release, August 12, 2002.

Correction on press release. Tracey McIntire, The Fund for Animals, August 12, 2002.