Edmonton, animal rights groups will fight in court over elephant’s future

A lawyer for the City of Edmonton says the fate of Lucy the Asian elephant is worth fighting for and it will engage in a legal battle to protect her.

Bob Barker

Bob Barker

EDMONTON — A lawyer for the City of Edmonton says the fate of Lucy the Asian elephant is worth fighting for and it will engage in a legal battle to protect her.

Animal rights groups, which have waged a public relations war to have Lucy moved out of the Valley Zoo and into an elephant sanctuary in the United States, were to file a lawsuit today to force the issue.

They’re alleging that Lucy, who is 34 years old, is in distress and being treated inhumanely.

But Steven Phipps, a lawyer for the city, refutes that, saying Lucy has received the best possible care and a move could kill her.

He questions why animal rights groups are asking the courts to get involved when they haven’t even filed a complaint with the Edmonton Humane Society, which can investigate and lay charges under Alberta’s Animal Protection Act.

He says while he hasn’t yet determined the city’s defence, there’s a “significant” chance it would argue that proper procedures haven’t been followed and the allegations have no merit.