Buttonwood Park Zoo: Please Allow Ruth & Emily to be Relocated to The Elephant Sanctuary
Sarah Maddux started this petition to Buttonwood Park Zoo Director Keith Lovett and 2 others
Ruth and Emily are aging Asian elephants living in deplorable conditions at the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, Massachusetts. They endure extreme heat/cold and live in an enclosure that would be much too small for a single elephant. Both elephants, especially Ruth, regularly display behavioral patterns consistent with extreme stress.
Even by the lowest of standards, Ruth and Emily are incompatible- a violation of the USDA’s Animal Welfare Act. Emily has attacked Ruth over 30 times and has been seen ramming, biting, and tusking Ruth, leaving lacerations. In 2006, Emily bit off 6.5 inches of Ruth’s tail. The Buttonwood Zoo has documented these attacks, but instead of granting Ruth the life she deserves at the Elephant Sanctuary, they falsely claim that Ruth is now too fragile to relocate.
Ruth is 56-58 years old. In the wild, she would be coming into her own as a matriarch of her herd. Instead, Ruth was taken from her mother as early as age 1 and shipped to Bensons Animal Farm, where she was trained by a circus elephant trainer named Silvers Madison. In 1978, she was sold to Brian Watson, who used her for parties, parades, and commercials. There is substantial evidence that Watson beat Ruth. Eventually, all of his animals were confiscated. Watson then stole his animals back, including Ruth, whom he had loaded onto a trailer. After his vehicle broke down, he left Ruth at a waste transfer station in Danvers, MA. She was found two days later, still chained to the trailer. Ruth then made her way to the Buttonwood Park Zoo.
Emily was taken from Thailand at age 3. She first lived at the Southwick Zoo before being purchased by the city of New Bedford in 1968. She spent her time in an unheated barn or chained in a dirt yard. Due to her deplorable living quarters, the USDA ordered Emily sent to the Baton Rouge Zoo, where she spent 3 years. Here, she was trained by Alan Campbell. Emily was both a victim and an aggressor in a number of adversarial encounters with other elephants. When Emily’s barn was complete, she then was moved back to the Buttonwood Zoo, where she continued to be forced to perform stressful and frightening “tricks” for the entertainment of viewers.
The Elephant Sanctuary (Hohenwald, TN) welcomes captive elephants that are elderly, sick, and/or in need of a peaceful place to spend the remainder of their lives. The sanctuary provides each elephant with individualized care, the companionship of a herd, and the ability to live the lives they have earned. Ruth and Emily deserve to roam The Elephant Sanctuary’s 2,700 acres of hills, trees, meadows, and ponds but are currently confined to an outdoor space of less than half an acre.
A dedicated group, Friends of Ruth and Emily, has campaigned on behalf of these exploited elephants since 2014. They have raised awareness through tabling, petitioning in person, and meeting with zoo staff and city leaders. The Friends of Ruth and Emily have recently taken legal action against the city of New Bedford, as there is an abundance of evidence that the treatment of Ruth and Emily is a violation of the Endangered Species Act. There are fewer than 40,000 Asian elephants remaining in the wild and the Buttonwood Park Zoo is not affording Emily and Ruth the protection they deserve. Before the case is heard, it is imperative that we bring as much attention as possible to this dire issue. Ruth and Emily can’t wait any longer; they have suffered enough. Please join me in asking the Buttonwood Zoo and the city of New Bedford to grant Ruth and Emily the life they deserve at the Elephant Sanctuary!
Thank you for being a voice for Ruth and Emily,
Please follow Friends of Ruth and Emily on Twitter: https://twitter.com/retireruthembpz
Please click here to show additional support by becoming a (free) member of Friends of Ruth and Emily: https://friendsofruthandemily.jimdo.com/free-membership/