CHICAGO – In an effort to force passage of a city-wide ordinance that would effectively ban elephants from zoos and circuses, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is parading a steady stream of elephant “experts” in front of Chicago reporters. What the media won’t hear, however, is PETA’s own dismal record regarding the welfare of elephants and other animals.

In 2003, as the tiny, drought-stricken African nation of Swaziland struggled to cope with the financial demands of maintaining eleven extra elephants in its sanctuaries, King Mswati III agreed to allow two American zoos to take the elephants, as an alternative to shooting them. PETA and other animal rights groups threatened a travel boycott of the tiny, tourism-dependent country if it allowed the elephants to come to the United States, and then sued the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Fish & Wildlife Service, and the San Diego Zoo in order to block the Swazi animals’ importation.

In a U.S. District Court hearing on August 6, 2003, PETA’s attorney told a federal judge that her client thought seeing pachyderms “euthanized [killed] in Swaziland” would be “a better outcome than to have these elephants … live the rest of their lives in captivity” in the United States.

Today, David Martosko, Director of Research at the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom, said: “PETA apparently believes bringing joy to children is a fate worse than death for an elephant. And PETA itself has a record of killing over 12,400 defenseless pets, attesting to its ‘better dead than fed’ attitude toward animals. Chicagoans who are unfamiliar with PETA’s hypocrisy should visit rural North Carolina, where PETA employees are facing dozens of animal-cruelty felonies for killing and dumping adoptable dogs and cats. For years Americans have been offended by the thought that PETA likes animals more than people. But the truth is that they don’t care much for either.”

SOURCES: [1] Civil Action No. 03-1497 (U.S. District Court, Washington, DC). [2] “Animal Record” reports filed by PETA with the Virginia State Veterinarian (available at www.PetaKillsAnimals.com)