'Get all the elephants out of Canada': Bob Barker
Written by Daniel Dale
The Toronto Star
February 15, 2011
Councillor Shelley Carroll has acquired a fawning new fan: animal rights activist and former
The Price Is Right host Bob Barker.
Barker, 87, has campaigned for the transfer of the Edmonton Valley Zoo's lone elephant, Lucy, to a sanctuary in California.
He hasn't joined Carroll in advocating a transfer of the three elephants at the Toronto Zoo merely because he hasn't been asked, he said when contacted at his Hollywood home Monday: the non-profit Zoocheck Canada has made him aware of their plight, he said, and he believes they, too, should be moved to a more spacious home in warmer climes.
A condensed transcript of his interview with the Star:
You've campaigned for Lucy to be taken out of the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Do you feel the same way about the elephants in Toronto?
I have great respect for Canada; The Price Is Right was popular in Canada from the day I started the show; I had wonderful Canadians on the show; one of my last shows, there was a group of Canadians all wearing shirts: "Bob Barker for Prime Minister." So I have nothing but wonderful feelings about Canadians. But Canada is no place for elephants. It's too far north. If we can get all of the elephants out of Canada, they're gonna be much happier. And if three of them are gonna be removed from the Toronto Zoo, that would be a big step in the right direction.
Why shouldn't elephants live in zoos up north?
It was never intended for elephants to be in such cold weather. And in captivity, the biggest cause of death for elephants is foot problems. They develop foot problems, and they become infected; that infection spreads all over their body, an they die, die much earlier than they would in the wild.
There is a councillor who is pushing for the elephants to be moved to California, but the zoo hasn't agreed.
Well, that one councillor should be listened to. Is it a man or a woman?
Well, that lady probably knows a lot more about elephants than anybody else on the council. And as a person who is willing to step forward in the face of opposition, she is courageous as well as intelligent, and God bless her. If you speak with that councilwoman, please tell her that she's my heroine. I love her.
Why do you want them moved to the sanctuary in California?
They have acres and acres of land. They have a mud hole; elephants love to play in the mud. They have a poll; some of them stay underwater practically the whole summer. And there are elephants for them to socialize with. Elephants come in that have been mistreated and been lonely and depressed, and they just blossom. It's wonderful to behold.
Are you involved with any elephant-related campaigns other than the one in Edmonton?
Not beyond the Los Angeles Zoo, which is an embarrassment to the city I live in. It's a disgusting situation. They had one elephant there for a long period of time, poor Billy, who was showing all the signs typical of psychological problems. Now they've built an elephant habitat, spent more than $40 million on it, but it's too small. They built this thing knowing it wasn't big enough, and they've brought in two more elephants! At least Billy has some company now.
Why do you think zoos are so resistant to your message?
Basically money. All animal exploitation and mistreatment - if you inquire deeply enough, it gets down to greed.