Animal rights group says Disney's Animal Kingdom among "worst" for elephants

Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2015 10:22 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney's Animal Kingdom made the list of 2014's "10 worst zoos for elephants" by a group called In Defense of Animals. The death of a pregnant elephant after she was transferred from Animal Kingdom to a new nonprofit center in Fellsmere was cited as a reason for Disney's No. 10 spot on the list. In Defense of Animals, a California nonprofit, released the list Monday.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 1:00 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

A) It's actually not necessary to quote, in full, the post immediately above yours. It's already right there, right above your post, if someone needs to reference it.

B) Sure. While I'm looking for that, find me one source that isn't an animal rights organization with an axe to grind like In Defense Of Animals, or the part of your brain where you think up not-true things like Disney drugging and moving animals to shelter in bad weather, that a wild animal living in captivity is not better off and more well-adjusted.

C) "...unless you cannot ever leave the Hyatt, unless they want you to and they sent you to a Super 8." Um. What? How are the animals being "...sent...to a Super 8"?

Last edited by slithernoggin, Thursday, January 15, 2015 1:08 PM

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 1:35 PM
Jeff's avatar

I use a goofy metaphor and it's a "false equivalency," but if you just make up things about conditions that just aren't true, that makes an argument.

If "better off" means something other than exposure to predators, disease, availability of food, etc., I'm all ears unless it's about their feelings about something they've never experienced.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 3:11 PM
Jeff's avatar

Good choice in deleting your last post.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 5:09 PM

I know, but I think it is true. I know you developed this software that runs the forum, so kudos to you. Many forum don't allow editing and deleting after a post is made. But I feel like the animal for someone's entertainment, that is OK since I guess I volunteered myself.

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Friday, January 16, 2015 8:04 AM

No one did their reading or research assignments?

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Friday, January 16, 2015 10:29 AM
Jeff's avatar

The things you linked to make strawman arguments for totally different angles. One can quite obviously argue that many species only exist today because of captivity, that they don't have to deal with predators and that simply having these animals encourage people to be aware of the impact they have on the world. For you to unilaterally declare that there is no value in having animals in captivity, whether for entertainment, conservation, research or whatever, is too absolute and one-sided.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Friday, January 16, 2015 10:56 AM

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I don't feel they are invalid, they contain data from reliable sources with no agenda, but be that as it may. I guess my point was whatever value like lostkause put in his response about raising awareness and encouraging a love of animals just doesn't outweigh the damage. As the article from psychology today referenced this is almost unmeasurable because the value for conservation and education is not really there.

I don't think people who work for the zoos and parks are evil trying to hurt animals, but I think that all their efforts follow the problem that these wild animals are in a very unnatural place. Their social life is unnatural, their work/survival behavior is unnatural, and in many cases their life span in cut short unnaturally.

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Friday, January 16, 2015 12:33 PM
Jeff's avatar

Unnatural is relative. I don't think you give them enough credit for their ability to adapt. Furthermore, you're trying to rationalize a moral position with science, and the moral side is far too subjective to draw any conclusions.

Let's be realistic: If there were no elephants in zoos, no one would care that they were being poached in Africa. If there were no orcas at SeaWorld, no one would care about illegal whaling (just ask all of the extinct cetaceans). So as I said before, you can claim there's some moral high ground there, but the fact is the animals are not treated cruelly, and there is clearly a benefit to their survival.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Friday, January 16, 2015 12:55 PM

Remember too, that as time passes and breeding programs develop in zoos and parks around the world, a good percentage of the animals we see are born in captivity to parents that are in captivity. The animals carry the advantage of not having to adapt to a strange, new environment and in turn we get to see them exhibit their natural behaviors and instincts in a place they've always known as home.

The habitats that zoos and parks are building these days are nothing short of amazing. Animals are free to roam and the humans are the ones confined to buildings, pathways, and caged environments. Some of my favorite features are those little "hedgehog" bubbles that allow the viewer to climb stairs and poke their heads up for a 360 degree view at ground level.

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Friday, January 16, 2015 3:45 PM
rollergator's avatar

Jeff said:

For you to unilaterally declare that there is no value in having animals in captivity, whether for entertainment, conservation, research or whatever, is too absolute and one-sided.

There clearly is *significant* benefit in terms of environmental education, conservation education, rehabilitation, and research - even if there were no entertainment (read: shows) at all, there would still be a need for Sea World. There just might not be adequate funding....

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Friday, January 16, 2015 4:37 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Mrchester asked for a source that said

...a wild animal living in captivity is better off and more well adjusted than one in the wild...

and then thoughtfully provided a link to an article that said pretty much that. Wild-caught animals live about as long in captivity as they would in the wild.

The first link is to an article referencing one study that looked only at female elephants in European zoos; it contained data from a source, not sources. Other, more recent studies suggest the opposite: captive-bred elephants live as long as they would in the wild.

The second link (first-hand) is to a blog post (second-hand) about a TV debate the author watched (third-hand), wherein the debaters cite various sources (fourth-hand). There's no data there.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Friday, January 16, 2015 4:39 PM

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Friday, January 16, 2015 5:04 PM

The first article says that captive elephants develop heath problems in captivity that aren't in the wild. The best we can do is mitigate these problems. Stop to think about that. All captive animals are given the best care available, that is inferior to what the animals in this case elephants can do in their natural habitat.

The second link written by a PhD in the field gave his own observations and weighed them against a debate on CNN. The author cites another doctor in the field and quotes him, that is not hear say that is how scholarly paper are written.

Both links gave supporting data to both sides of these conversations that is why I choose them. It also addressed the point of most zoo animals are mainly bread in captivity. I find this a distraction because it says a real wild animal's life has a different value than a captive animal's life. This is not a good way to look at it, because it is standard procedure in the INDUSTRY to euthanize animals that are not in the breading program. It also highlights the mental and emotional stress these animals experience and the symptoms the exhibit.

If you want to do more research I encourage it, can I suggest a topic?

How many animals died in Disney's care in Orlando in the very short time they had them before DAK opened?

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Friday, January 16, 2015 5:18 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

mrchester said:

The first article says that captive elephants develop heath problems in captivity that aren't in the wild.

No, it doesn't. It says that one study, which began nearly 15 years ago, that was restricted to elephants of one gender in zoos in a geographically-limited area, developed health problems; other, more recent and expansive studies say otherwise. It said nothing about whether the health problems were the same or different as in the wild.

The second link written by a PhD in the field ... cites another doctor in the field and quotes him, that is not hearsay ...

Yeah, it is. That link is you saying that this person said that that person said something that this other person over there said.

...most zoo animals are mainly bread in captivity.

I'm pretty sure most zoo animals are still animals in captivity :-)


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Friday, January 16, 2015 8:46 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Sourdough or whole wheat?


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Friday, January 16, 2015 9:22 PM
a_hoffman50's avatar

They catch them in the rye.

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Friday, January 16, 2015 10:02 PM
rollergator's avatar

Animal crackers...

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Friday, January 16, 2015 11:30 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

...in my soup.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Friday, January 16, 2015 11:49 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

mrchester said:

All captive animals are given the best care available, that is inferior to what the animals in this case elephants can do in their natural habitat.

Work with me here. "All captive animals are given the best care available..." but ",,,that is inferior to what the animal in this case elephants can do in their natural habitat." Okay. Let's assume we have two elephants with broken legs.

One elephant is at Disney's Animal Kingdom and one is at Tembe.

According to mrchester, the captive animal has the best care available; that elephant is quickly attended to.

According to mrchester, the animal in the wild does not have the best care available. That animal must suffer the pain.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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