Think the zoo can’t get elephants again? Think again. Your comments needed by September 9th!
A clause in the old Operations Agreement (15.3) between the City of Seattle and Woodland Park Zoological Society was interpreted by the City Attorney’s Office as giving the City the authority over the disposition of the animals. It was REMOVED from the new proposed 20-year Agreement (now 12.3). This means Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) can do anything it wants with the animals such as bring back elephants or mercilessly artificially inseminate an animal 112 times as WPZ did with Chai. There will be NOTHING, absolutely nothing, the City or public can do about it!
Is this OK with you? If not, you must give public comment – in writing or by calling – or both.
Please, pretty please, do this for the sake of the suffering wild animals caged for life, AND for future animal advocates who over the next 20 years will want to challenge WPZS’ inhumane form of entertainment on the backs of suffering animals!
Below are some talking points – lots to choose from and each one will incense you. If you only have time for one sentence, do it to register your vote of disapproval.
Say: The proposed Operations Agreement gives Woodland Park Zoological Society too much power and the City must have oversight over the animals. Also, below you’ll find email addresses for written comment by September 9th at 5PM AND a link to register to call-in to give public comment after NOON for the September 10th, 2PM Pubic Assets and Native Communities meeting.
- The City of Seattle MUST have oversight and the ability to set policy over the buying/selling/moving/breeding animals and their general welfare. People’s attitudes about caging wild animals are changing and the City needs to represent its citizens’ values.
- The Society showed profound indifference to the suffering of the elephants when they housed incompatible elephants in tiny sections of one acre and in the wrong climate. We cannot allow WPZS to bring back elephants, for example, without the City having the authority to intervene.
- Funding should be lowered, not increased, as it stands in this proposed Agreement. The City has many more important priorities than subsidizing an organization that is primarily an entertainment venue. Meanwhile public support for the zoo is declining as paid gate attendance has trended downward for over a decade despite our robust population boom. Funding should be lowered commensurate with declining paid attendance.
- The proposed Agreement gives the Parks Department’s Superintendent too much power. For example, he/she is able to allow WPZS to rename Woodland Park Zoo, its name for 150 years. All it would take is Amazon, for example, to give WPZS a boatload of money and this historic park could be renamed Amazon Zoo.
- The Superintendent has too much authority to approve the Long Range Plan which could include an “Events Center” and “Office Building” – in this parkland and Single Family neighborhood. Only the City Council should be able to approve this with input from the affected communities. The Zoological Society can have their events off site.
- While the City is obligated to increase funding to WPZ through this Agreement, the City has no power to stop the Society from raising prices; making it even more unaffordable and exclusive.
- WPZ wants to use the City-owned 120 acres in Enumclaw for a breeding site. The City and/or King County must have better uses for this valuable asset. Perhaps the sale of this land could be used to help fund the homeless crisis.
- WPZ’s much touted “public benefits” program is really an income producing strategy. The average cost of a free ticket is a kid’s ticket ($14.50). The parents have to pay full price or $49.00 to take their kid, who has a free ticket, to the zoo. It’s no wonder almost 40% of the “free” tickets went unused. Either the parents did not want to go to the zoo or they couldn’t afford it. So much for making it affordable for low income families to go to the zoo.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Written comment must be received by September 9 at 5PM.
Please email the Council members on the Public Assets and Native Communities Committee and their staffers. Here’s a list to cut and paste:
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Registration for public comment call-in becomes available 2 hours before the start of the Public Assets and Native Communities meeting on September 10th at 2PM. You can sign up to call in to comment beginning at NOON on 9/10 using this link: http://www.seattle.gov/council/committees/public-comment
Please consider doing both.
FYI, The process is that the Agreement first goes to the Public Assets and Native Communities Committer for public comment and a vote and then on to the full Council for public comment and a vote. Then to the Mayor to sign. The Council members have a full plate and Woodland Park Zoo is not their priority so it is beyond imperative that EVERYONE write and/or give public comment.