Members of Lucy’s Edmonton Advocates’ Project (LEAP) picked up their signs to protest the Zoolander Fashion Show at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, Thursday evening.
Zoolander Fashion Show is a black tie fundraising event for the zoo, where various animals do a guided walk down a runway, with lights and music in the background.
LEAP organizer Mary-Ann Holm calls it a ‘circus styled’ exploitation of animals.
“We would like to see sponsors withdraw their support for an event like this,” says Holm. “Fine, have a fashion show if you want to show off local fashion, but why do the animals have to be paraded around in that environment?”
In a statement emailed to 630CHED, a City of Edmonton spokesperson says the animals used in the events are tractable animals who “are regularly out with zoo keepers to provide the public more of an understanding of the animal, and the conservation efforts the Valley Zoo is a part of.”
Another issue LEAP has with the event is where the funds are spent, claiming the money raised goes to customer areas and not towards animal facility upgrades.
“It would be nice to see some of the enclosures improve. Lucy (the elephant) lives in an extremely small enclosure for an elephant. They have a bald eagle that lives in a cage that’s the size of a broom closet, and there’s a number of animals that really have horrendous enclosures.”
The statement from the City says the enclosures at the Edmonton Valley Zoo “comply or exceed regulartory and legislative standards.” (tl)