Shorter Seattle Times: A Vote for Prop 1’s Park District Is a Vote for Torturing Elephants!

topsy execution

Seattle Times archival photo of Woodland Park Zoo’s beloved Chai the elephant.

Omigod, really, Seattle Times editorial board…?

The zoo receives many tens of millions of dollars from public coffers but resolutely refuses to explain how it spends the money. Tax dollars disappear into a void with no transparency or accountability. …

The zoo would be a beneficiary of Proposition 1’s Park District, which only compounds the taxpayer-provided free lunch, and builds the wall of secrecy higher.

The zoo has three unhappy female elephants in cramped space. … How bad are things at the Woodland Park Zoo for elephants? What does cramped space really mean? One of the poor creatures has suffered from urine burns, scalded by her own waste water.

There are no good arguments against Prop 1 other than “we don’t want to pay higher taxes,” so instead the opposition has resorted to, well, anything.

It’s hard to believe that a campaign over parks funding for chrissakes, could turn into one of the most dishonest and fear-mongering campaigns ever. But don’t be fooled. Vote “Yes” on Prop 1. (And mail in your goddamn ballot!)


  1. 1

    Calpete spews:

    Why does the text say the photo is a Seattle Times archival of Chai the elephant from the Zoo, but the caption on the photo says it’s Topsy, the elephant from Coney Island (nowhere near Seattle, I believe, although I never was good at geography)?

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @1 Goldy is spoofing ST’s crocodile tears for the Woodland Park Zoo’s elephants. It’s a bit subtle, but basically he’s accusing (with complete justification) ST of sensationalizing the plight of WPZ’s elephants in order to oppose Prop. 1. The unspoken irony, of course, is that if you want to improve conditions for the zoo’s elephants, you have to spend more, not less, money on the zoo. In other words, ST’s use of the zoo example as an argument against Prop. 1 is bogus, which is Goldy’s point.

    I agree with ST’s “solution” for the elephants’ “miserable” lives at the zoo — ship them to a wildlife park where they have the room and freedom to roam. Elephants don’t belong in a small urban zoological enclave. For that matter, maybe we should abolish zoos altogether, and let all of the animals — not just elephants — go. At a minimum, you stupid humans should stop plucking animals from the wilds and incarcerating them in zoos and circuses. How would you like it if someone did that to you, or your kids? How is that different from plucking black people from African villages and selling them into forced labor half a world away, two centuries ago?

    But my anti-zoo/circus rant above beggars the issue, and Goldy’s point, which is funding for Seattle’s parks. The zoo gets dragged into this debate because it’s regarded (at least by ST) as an extension of the city parks system. In fact, the zoo is run by a private organization with public money — a structure very similar to the charter schools that anti-tax conservatives like the ST’s editorial writers are pushing for our public education system. Why they’re bitching about partial realization of their goals — albeit limited to the zoological gardens (snark) sphere for the time being — is beyond me.

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    So, to make things clear, the charter school concept — public money, private management, no transparency or accountability — is good when applied to our schoolchildren, but bad if applied to zoo animals. So sez the Seattle Times editorial board. This indeed provokes amazement, wonderment, and head-shaking among the rationale intelligentsia, which these days seems to consist mostly of burrow-dwelling rabbits.

  4. 4

    headless lucy spews:

    Thomas Edison volunteered to electrocute the elephant pictured (it was somewhere in the south, don’t ya know) to demonstrate the superiority of his electrical production.

  5. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @4 More specifically, to demonstrate the superiority of his generating company’s alternating current over his competitor’s direct current.

    Let us hope Arizona doesn’t attempt to solve its problems with (non-)lethal injection by adopting the electric chair. (Arizona has never been an electric chair state; prior to lethal injection, it was a gas chamber state.) They’d probably use direct current instead of alternating current in their electric chair. Do you have any idea how long it takes to kill someone with a car battery? (It can be quick, but only if you forget about the wires and just drop the battery from some amount of height onto the subject’s head.)

    Edison, at least, with all his genius was smart enough to figure out that reversing the current flow 60 times a minute plays hell with body tissue (yours or an elephant’s).

  6. 6

    Calpete spews:

    @2 – Thanks, Roger. I had a few moments of clear thought a bit later in the morning and realized it had to be a subtle dig of some sort, but couldn’t put my finger on it. It’s been a long couple of weeks.

  7. 8

    MikePhoto spews:

    @8 – Yep, he was trying to demonstrate how much more dangerous AC was than DC, since the Edison Company was running DC generation at the time.