It is with a heavy heart that we must make a sad announcement: the Oregon Zoo has euthanized Packy the elephant at age 54. Packy was born in captivity and never had a chance to see a natural elephant habitat or interact with his fellow wild elephants. Instead, he was kept in a cell for the entirety of his life, until, in 2013 he was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB).
As a TB carrier, he became a financial and legal risk the zoo that held him captive. An anonymous source told the Huffington Post, “Packy has never shown any signs or symptoms of the TB infection. He is showing no signs of pain or discomfort. He is active, playful and engaged with keeper staff every day.” Despite this fact, it came to the attention of In Defense of Animals and Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants that the Oregon Zoo had started talks behind closed doors about euthanizing Packy.
In Defense of Animals President, Dr. Marilyn Kroplick recently cautioned the Oregon Zoo in a press statement stating, “Research shows that elephants are self-aware and conscious animals. Oregon Zoo brought Packy into the world and profited from him; now they need to provide the care he needs.” And so In Defense of Animals and Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants organized “Team Packy,” a group dedicated to rescuing Packy from a premature death and letting him live out his days in an elephant hospice.
Despite the effort of these two organization and a massive outpouring of support from concerned citizens around the world, the zoo went ahead with their plans and Packy was killed on February 9th, 2017. In a statement, Toni Frohoff, Ph.D., Elephant Scientist for In Defense of Animals, said, “I am sickened by the despicable actions of Oregon Zoo, which has not ‘euthanised’ but ‘zoothanised’ Packy.” And while Oregon activists grieve, so do we all.
In Defense of Animals has declared February 9th to be “World Zoothanasia Day” in honor of Packy and the countless other animals that have been senselessly slaughtered by zoos over the years. Packy’s death is a tragedy, but it does not have to be in vain. Share this story with anyone who will listen.
It is far past time we held the Oregon Zoo accountable for their actions against innocent animals. This paltry institution ranked fifth on In Defense of Animals’ 2016 list of the Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America, and has made the list a total of seven times! Seeing their treatment of Packy, it is clear that this is a place solely focused on their own profit, paying little mind to the animals who they have completely robbed of any semblance of life. You can help by boycotting the Oregon Zoo – when people stop paying to see animals suffering, they will have no choice but to shut their doors.