Following last year's death of two-year-old elephant Mac, PETA isn't the only group that's not pleased with the Houston Zoo. California-based group In Defense of Animals has released its annual "Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants," and the Houston Zoo comes in at No. 2:
The Houston Zoo's Asian elephant breeding record is by far the worst in the country. Of 14 known elephant births, not one is alive today...The Houston Zoo claims that breeding must continue so the disease can be further studied, meaning that it knowingly is engaging in a grisly experiment in which 75% of the subjects have died. This is the Houston Zoo's second appearance on IDA's Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants list.
Texas zoos as a whole have by far the worst showing on the list.
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San Antonio comes in at No 1. for holding elephant Lucky by herself after the death of her companion; Fort Worth comes in at No. 8 for the "forlorn existence" of its male elephants; Dallas comes it at No. 9 for trying to send "traumatized" elephant Jenny off to a drive-thru safari park in Mexico; and the El Paso Zoo, a repeat offender, makes IDA's Hall of Shame for the small size of its elephant exhibit and -- yikes -- "despicable history of elephant beatings."
We have a call in to a Houston Zoo spokesman; we'll let you know if there's a response.
- Cathy Matusow