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UPDATE: Billy’s Learns His Lesson — It’s the Money

After spending months revisiting its 2006 decision to spend $42 million on a pachyderm elephant exhibit at the L.A. Zoo, the City Council voted 11-4 to keep Billy the Elephant caged in more comfortable quarters and bring him some playmates, male and female.

For all the endless hours of public comment and debate — roughly 10 times as much as was spent in putting the largest solar power initiative on the ballot, of all places — the council decided it had nothing to do with Billy’s welfare.

All that mattered was that it was cheaper to keep him at the zoo than to let him roam free in the wilds of the Valley.

So take heart, Los Angeles, they don’t treat elephants any better than they do people.

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8 Responses to UPDATE: Billy’s Learns His Lesson — It’s the Money

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think these people are dangerous.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The vote was 11-4 and sometimes the right decisions do get made for the right reasons!!

  3. G. Shepherd says:

    The bastards! I’d like to take a bite out of them.
    Grrrrrrrrrrrr!

  4. spiffy says:

    I was at that meeting today Ron. I went to comment on another matter. I didn’t know it was elephant day. I would not have gone to comment if I didn’t feel the matter I was speaking on was urgent.
    Cardenas had a good plan. He suggested keeping the project, which would allow construction workers to keep their jobs, but placing other animals in the new area since opponents say it’s too small for elephants.
    He suggested the zoo put the giraffes and zebras there.
    Maybe it will come to that since someone or some group has now filed a lawsuit against the city, I think suing over the treatment of Billy? I’m not positive. I didn’t interview the plaintiff.
    Many of the Save Billy proponents argued that the zoo has many exhibits that are dilapidated and sorely in need of redesign, so why is the city spending so many millions of dollars on ONE exhibit?
    Ah but what was so sad is how the zoo supporters manipulated the children into signing cards and even showing up in person to “Save Our Zoo”. Why were those kids cutting school to show up at a council meeting?
    Where is a truant officer when you need one? (LOL)
    It was sad. A sad day for humanity when a group of people who feel the elephant is theirs think they know what is best for an animal based purely on their emotional needs, not on what science has taught us about elephants. They made fun of the “celebrities” but the celebrities were all arguing with logic, fiscal sense, empathy and science on their side.
    Once again, emotion has trumped science! Woo hoo!
    IMO, they can keep building the area, maybe the zoo will be forced to put other animals there, but in the meantime send Billy to foster care. Bob Barker offered to pay for him to be moved. It was an extraordinarily generous offer from a private citizen. It’s just plain selfishness that keeps that poor elephant there, alone, in that inadequate space.
    Horses kept at the Equestrian Center get regular exercise. They get taken out of their stalls and get to work their legs, hearts and other muscles. But not Billy.

  5. Kristin Sabo says:

    Spiffy,
    I’m sorry, but exercise options for the horses at the LA Equestrian Center — and any other place for that matter — is up to the owners to manage. In the Los Angeles area, there are thousands of horses who are locked up in stalls and may get out once a month? Once every six months? Never? It happens all the time. Just because you see people riding doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of horses still locked up in a 10′-12′ square box somewhere.
    It’s common. Way too common. I particularly enjoy aseeing an obese horse I know for fact hasn’t been moved from their stall in months suddenly crest the very steep half-mile hill up to Amir’s Garden in Griffith Park (where I volunteer) at a dead-run with some fat guy on its back, then listening to it try to catch its breath and not to die of a heart attack while the idiot then GIVES IT WATER (asking for a colic attack on top of the heart attack), heaves himself back on, and races it up the next steep hill. If the rider hasn’t killed the horse by the time they get back to the barn, it’ll be thrown back in the stall for another month or two (asking for an azatoria attack). Yup – LA horse-keeping at its best.
    As someone who rehabilitates abused horses and horses with behavoral problems, I think you really ought to know what you are talking about before using it as some sort of proof of something.
    This is exactly what I was talking about in comments from Ron’s earlier article on Billy — councilpeople and people from both sides of the issue insisting… nay, DEMANDING on exact or absolute answers from animal specialists of all kinds is totally absurd. It was like I was watching this unfold in an alternate universe or something.
    Do these people have no concept of critical, logical thinking?
    What about even a rudimentary understanding of the scientific method?
    How about how to prioritize in this town and time?
    What the people need, for gods sake?
    Apparently not.

  6. anonymous says:

    I agree that Spiffy’s comparison to horses at the Equestrian Center is inaccurate. Many horses stand in those stalls, not exercised, etc. However, that doesn’t negate the other things Spiffy wrote.
    Billy’s life is tragic and seems to exist only for the whims of those who enjoy working with him or looking at him. Then they throw in “the children” and “conservation” argument to justify the sorry life he lives.
    Is conservation worth the inhumane keeping of the very animals being “saved” from extinction?
    Is this what we wish to teach the children?

  7. Kristin Sabo says:

    6:22 — what planet have you been living on? They ALWAYS throw in “it’s for the children” or “if you’re against this, you’re against children” when someone, some community, or some community group disagrees with a poorly studied or managed project that the council office or mayor wants. Poorly planned and/or wasteful Rec and Parks projects are the favorite place councilmembers use this one. If you are going to fight any fight in this town, then you had better get used to it, and go right past it.
    Yes. Billy’s life is tragic. So is what is happening all over this City every single minute of the day, courtesy of your elected officials.
    What I hear is you teaching the children is that the needs of the one — in this case an elephant — are far more important than the needs of the many.
    These miopic City Council encounters such as the battle for Billy keep everyone from fighting for the greater good. You’ve fallen for it hook, line, and sinker like so many others. That’s why it’s the LA City Council’s number one method of mis-directing the citizenry.
    Go ahead and cry for Billy. But cry for Los Angeles, for god’s sake. Cry for the people. And then do something about it, or shut the hell up.

  8. anonymous says:

    Kristin-I am not sure why you attack me and what your points are. You seem to agree about Billy’s plight. So, we are on the same page there. You suggest that there are other issues that plague our city. No argument from me there. I care about all animals-the four legged and the two legged. Then there’s the stop whining and do something about it. Well, I do and I have, not just for animals but for people.
    As for the “for the children” point. Yes, it is clear politicians use this at times to promote agendas that have nothing to do with the children. That’s my point. Perhaps that was yours when you indicated that I don’t seem to know that. I do. Why do you think I mentioned it? I don’t think staring at an elephant rocking back and forth is an education. That I make this point doth not mean I dwell on it. Go right past it? Perhaps, but not without mentioning it.
    Another point you seem to make is that I think addressing the needs of one is more important than the needs of many. ‘Not sure how you made that conclusion. Amazing and untrue.
    So, yes, as an occupant of the same planet that you reside on, we seem to agree on various points. As a fellow member, I hope you consider saving those punches for those you are sure are not doing their part for Billy and for all the other residents of this city (and planet) for which I cry for and fight for.

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