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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

8 March 2001 Fact Sheet

Elephant Beaten at Dickerson Park Zoo!

Yet another senseless beating of an elephant. I contacted Carol Buckley of "The Elephant Sanctuary" in Tennessee. Her response is also included. Despite what she says, I beleive we should write letters, to both Zoos and the USDA, asking that Chai go to The Elephant Sanctuary. We cannot let them get away with these actions. Beatrice Voices for the Voiceless [email protected] "Teach respect for the Earth & all living Creatures"

ALERT: Whistleblowers recently told PETA that Chai, an endangered female Asian elephant from the Woodland Park Zoo was badly mistreated in September 1998 when she was sent to the Dickerson Park Zoo in Missouri to be bred. Reports have stated that Chai was chained down by two of her legs and was put thorough a series of commands. Because she did not understand one of the commands the keeper began to jab her with a bullhook in a very sensitive spot, eventually causing her to swing her head around in a attempt to stop the torment. Other keepers observing the "training session" walked out and returned shortly thereafter with large pieces of wood and bullhooks in their hands. The head keeper repeated his command and continually jabbed Chai until she again tried to defend herself. As if on cue, we are told that all of the keepers in the barn began to beat Chai with the bullhooks and pieces of wood, first beating her in a standing position and then while she was prone on the ground. Eyewitnesses say the beating session continued for almost 2 hours.

Chai is said to have lost 1000 pounds while she was at Dickerson Park Zoo. The stress of having been forced to leave Woodland Park Zoo, the only home she had known for many years, coupled with Chai's nconscionable mistreatment, surely contributed to this dangerous weight loss.

There is no excuse for the cruel treatment Chai experienced at the Dickerson Park Zoo. She was provoked by an old-school elephant handler and did what was natural to her - she fought back against her tormenter. Dickerson has the capability to handle elephants in what is known as "protected contact" which means that the keepers can work with these intelligent, sensitive, and fiercely strong animals without danger of being injured.

Please help see that the zoo is charged with violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Also, help see that Woodland Park Zoo and Dickerson Park Zoo switch to protected contact to prevent other elephants from experiencing the nightmare Chai faced.


Dr. Ron DeHaven, Deputy Administrator
4700 River Road, Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737-1234
Fax: 301-734-4978
Email: [email protected] 

Urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to launch an investigation into possible violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, which prohibits the handling of animals in a manner that causes them physical or psychological suffering.

Mike Waller, Acting Director
Woodland Park Zoological Garden
5500 Phinney Avenue
North Seattle, WA 98103
Fax: 206-684-4854
Email: [email protected] 

Mike Crocker, Director
Dickerson Park Zoo
3043 North
Fort Springfield, MO 65803
Fax: 417-833-4459
Email: [email protected]  

sample letter to Ron de Haven: Ron DeHaven, UDSA

Dear Mr. De Haven,

I am writing to you to ask you to investigate the case of an elphant named Chai under the federal Animal Welfare Act. There appear to have been some serious violations of the Act in this case. It is my understanding that this elephant was transferred from Woodland Park Zoo in Washington State to Dickerson Park Zoo in Missouri for breeding purposes. The 'keepers' at Dickerson zoo then proceeded to give this poor creature a 2 1/2 hour beating with stick, bars and clubs because she did not understand a particular command one of the 'keepers' gave her. As a result of the beating Chai lost 1000 lbs through her injuries and presumably the trauma of such an experience.

It is further to my understanding that the'keepers' involved claimed the extremely convinent self-defence excuse when asked what happened. These people are obviously not telling the truth to protect themselves. What they did, if practiced on a human, would, rightly, have them charged with attempted murder. It is unfortunate that they cannot be charged similarly in this event but hopefully you can through your investigation hold the zoo accountable for the actions of its employees.

If it is possible under the law to have the zoo's entitlement to keep elephants revoked then could I ask you to do so. You will by doing this , be sending a clear message to other zoos that such treatment of animals in their charge is completely unacceptable and will be dealt with in the most severe manner

I thank you, in advance, for you attention to the above and will be most grateful to know what you intend to do about this horrible act. Sincerely

Your Name
City, State

Dear Mr Crocker,

I have learnt about the despicable treatment of an Asian elephant called Chai in your Zoo.

To state that the Elephant was dangerous is an easy way out for deplorable and unecessary violence.

The fact that Chai lost over 1000 lbs is proof enough that the behavior of your employees and in turn the whole of Dickerson Zoo is a complete disgrace.

The bad publicity you are recieving should be reason enough for you to instigate the moving of Chai to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tenesse. A move such as that would certainly put Dickerson Zoo in a better light.

I hope that you will do the only humane thing left, and help send Chai to The Elephant Sanctuary.


Carol Buckley response from The Elephant Sanctuary in Tenesse: Beatrice Welles wrote:

Could you tell me if you are aware of this?


, and if there is a possibility that Chai might be coming to you in the not to distant future?

Sadly no

Is there anything we can do to get her to you?

The zoo denies any wrong doing claiming that Chai was aggressive and that the keepers were only protecting themselves. It breaks my heart. Carol

source: [email protected]  (Beatrice Welles)

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