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Activists will demonstrate Saturday at Portland's Oregon Zoo

Contacts: Nicole Meyer,, 206-920-2819
Eric Phelps,, 503-754-0977

In Defense of Animals Condemns Two Northwest Zoos Over Elephant Programs

Activists will demonstrate Saturday at Portland's Oregon Zoo

Portland, Ore. (December 13, 2012)- This Saturday, December 15, In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal protection organization with an office in Portland, will shine a spotlight on two Northwest zoos for a "Day of Action for Elephants." IDA will hold simultaneous demonstrations at Portland's Oregon Zoo and Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo.

What: Day of Action for Zoo Elephants
When: December 15, 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Where: Oregon Zoo's main entrance, 4001 Southwest Canyon Road, Portland, Oregon

The Oregon Zoo came under national scrutiny last week after admitting that an elephant born at the zoo is owned, through a breeding contract, by a notorious elephant-rental company called Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT). Despite claims by the zoo and HTWT that this newest baby will remain at the zoo, the zoo cannot provide any guarantee the elephant will stay with her mother forever. Further, other elephants born under the agreed upon terms will also be owned by HTWT.

"In its desperate attempt to breed elephants, the Oregon Zoo seems to forget one key element of its mission: the welfare of its elephants." says IDA spokesperson Nicole Meyer. "If the zoo truly cared about elephants, it would end its exploitative breeding program and terminate its contract with Have Trunk Will Travel."

The Seattle Times recent investigative report Glamour Beasts( cut through zoo industry rhetoric, exposing the disturbing facts and failings of elephant programs that zoos are desperate to hide from the public. The report, focused primarily on the Oregon Zoo and the Woodland Park Zoo, uncovered a history of abuse, neglect, deaths, exploitative breeding practices, and shady deals.

The Oregon Zoo has a miserable record of sending young, vulnerable elephants into harm's way. The zoo has already sent six baby elephants to circuses or circus trainers, and is now bartering babies with yet another exploitative company that trains elephants with sharp metal bullhooks to perform tricks for entertainment. What is even more disturbing is that the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) sanctions these types of breeding deals, raising the question of the AZA's overall credibility and integrity.

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