For Immediate Release: January 17, 2013
(West Palm Beach, FL) — The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF) is calling for the retirement of an elderly Asian elephant who will perform at the South Florida Fair beginning January 18.
This year’s fair features “Elephant Encounter,” a show that travels with two elephants owned by Bill Morris of Gibsonton, Florida. ARFF believes that one of the elephants, Cora, is over 60 years old. She may be the oldest elephant still traveling and performing in the United States. Elderly elephants often suffer from arthritis and foot and joint problems that are made worse by confinement.
“Cora has spent more than five decades performing in circuses and at county fairs. She deserves a peaceful retirement,” said Don Anthony, ARFF Communications Director. “We are pleading with Bill Morris and the South Florida Fair to take Cora off the road and allow her to spend her remaining years free from the stresses of traveling and performing.”
Violent, physical abuse remains a common method of training and controlling elephants in circuses and traveling shows. In 2003, Bill Morris was filmed cruelly using a bullhook on Cora (the video is available on ARFF’s YouTube page: www.youtube.com/AnimalsFlorida).
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On Thursday, WFTX-TV/FOX 4 (Cape Coral) reported on the announcement by United Airlines that it would no longer transport monkeys destined for laboratory experimentation. When contacted by the TV station for comment, the president of Primate Products, Donald Bradford, said, “another airline turning its back to the fight against diseases and the suffering they cause means animals utilized in that fight will endure days and days on trucks instead of a two to three hour trip on airplanes.”
We’re not sure if Mr. Bradford was being intentionally misleading, or if he badly needs a geography refresher (and of course, we disagree with his claim that animal experiments are necessary in the fight against disease)? Primate Products is a Miami-based corporation that imports monkeys from countries such as China, Cambodia and the Phillipines for use in research and testing. Obviously you can’t truck monkeys from China to the U.S., and the trip by air from those countries takes much, much longer than two or three hours. The grueling, long-distance trips can be extremely stressful experiences. It is not uncommon for monkeys to die even before they make it to a laboratory.
We suspect that Bradford is aware of the true significance of United Airlines announcement. There are a dwindling number of airlines that continue to be involved in the cruel primate trade. Without airlines, Primate Products’ import business grinds to a halt.
Air France is one of a small number of passenger airlines willing to transport monkeys destined for research. You can help by contacting Air France and urging them to end their involvement in the transport of monkeys to laboratories.
Jan Krems, Vice President, The Americas
Air France-KLM Cargo
Phone: (877) 247-9247
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