August 2010. Beverly Hills, CA.
Laughter filled the air at the Voice for Animals Foundation’s Beverly Hills fundraiser hosted by Lily Tomlin. Top comedians brought their talents to raise funds for a pending court case to free Billy the elephant from the L.A. Zoo.
VFTA’s lawsuit was originally filed in 2007. The suit charges the Los Angeles Zoo with cruel and unusual punishment of elephants and seeks to put a stop to the planned elephant exhibit which will cost taxpayers $42 million. In 2009, the council voted to approve of the exhibit despite there is sufficient evidence that proves the conditions captive elephants are kept in constitutes civil and criminal abuse under California law. 14 Elephants have already died under the Zoo’s care. After a number of motions and appeals, the Court of Appeals ruled the case could go to trial.
This is the first civil case, ever, approved for a trial to determine whether a public elephant exhibit should be closed due to abuse of the elephants in its care. It is also the only case, ever, to go forward regarding such an issue, with the express approval of a Court of Appeal.
Comedians performing at the fundraising event August 8 included Lily Tomlin, Bruce Vilanch, Orny Adams, Elayne Boosler and Rick Overton.
Male Asian Elephant
At Los Angeles Zoo since 1989
In solitary confinement for 20 years at L.A. Zoo.
Billy was caught in the wild and forcibly taken from his native home of Malaysia, as part of a trade between the L.A. Zoo and the Malaysian Game Department. Billy lives on approximately one-quarter acre at L.A. Zoo. In the wild, elephants can walk 30 miles in a day. There are roughly 640 acres in one mile.
With no other elephants near him, Billy lives an unnatural, solitary life at the Zoo. While male elephants are often kept separate from other elephants in zoos, in the wild males can display social connections, residing in bachelor herds or frequenting areas with female elephants, sometimes moving from family to family. In India, younger bulls join with older bulls to crop raid.
For many years Billy has been displaying stereotypic behavior in the form of repetitive head bobbing that goes on for extended periods of time. Stereotypic behavior is often viewed as an indicator of poor welfare, caused by factors such as restriction of movement, size of enclosure, social isolation, and lack of complexity in the physical environment. Billy has experienced all of these factors at the L.A. Zoo. In fact, Billy was routinely chained each night, likely from the time of his arrival at L.A. Zoo in 1989 until 1994, for approximately 12 to 14 hours each night. It was during this period that a keeper reportedly physically abused Billy by using electric shock on him.
Experts state that stereotypic behavior can lead to foot problems such as nail cracks (which Billy already has), and abscesses and abrasions to the sole of the foot. Foot-related problems are one of the leading causes of euthanasia in captive elephants in the United States.
This Video Provided by In Defense of Animals.
Elephants suffer physically and psychologically in captivity where they are bored, cramped, lonely and far from their natural homes. The stress and anxiety the confined enclosure causes this elephant, Billy, to nod his head repeatedly. Most elephants in captivity die young.
HD Video Shot by Mohr Productions.
Several elephants rescued from circuses and zoos live at PAWS sanctuary as pictured above.This is where Ruby the elephant went to live after her rescue, and is the place Billy the elephant will live if he is released from the Los Angeles Zoo. This video provided by Patty Shenker (www.pattyshenker.com).
Comedian Lily Tomlin explains why money needs to be raised for the upcoming trial to get Billy out of his small enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo. The trial is scheduled for November 2, 2010. Be there! And visit Elephants In Crisis to find out how you can help!
This $42 million enclosure is being built at the Los Angeles Zoo to keep Billy the elephant in captivity. Elephants suffer physically and psychologically in captivity where they are bored, cramped, lonely and far from their natural homes.
Comedian Lily Tomlin gives here thoughts on the futility of building a bigger cage (enclosure) for Billy the Elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Comedian Bruce Vilanch speaks highly of the Elephant Sanctuary he once stayed in. They’re great!!
Comedian Lily Tomlin headed the star studded evening at a Beverly Hill Mansion. She joined other comics to get the word out about rescuing Billy the Elephant from the Los Angeles Zoo. His big trial date is coming up.
Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas wants Billy freed and in a large sanctuary where he can roam and be with other elephants.
Comedian Orny Adams has a sensible plan for getting Billy the Elephant to Sanctuary.
Singer, songwriter, and recording artist Fawn speaks up for the elephants and explains why some are “rocking” back and forth in the zoo. It’s not because they are listening to great music!
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