Speaking With The Enemy

As I predicted in my post Saturday after learning the heartbreaking news of Asian elephant Gita’s death at the L.A. Zoo, the so-called animal “advocates” wasted no time showing up to harangue and lambaste and insult the zoo and its patrons with their reprehensible version of “we told you so!”

From today’s L.A. Times article:

The activists began gathering outside the main entrance about 11:30 a.m., telling patrons about Gita’s death and urging them to spend their money elsewhere. Some called the zoo a “death camp” and blamed the zoo for “killing Gita.”

Death camp, indeed.

Bill Dyer of the SoCal group In Defense of Animals (IDA) is often the spearpoint leading these assaults and sure enough he was there Sunday, spewing his juvenile bullshit about how Gita would be alive today if she’d been moved to a sanctuary.

So I wrote him:

Mr. Dyer,

Though I’ve long been a supporter of the Los Angeles Zoo as an important educational and conservation resource, I have also struggled to maintain a respect for your organization as a voice for better treatment and conditions for animals in captivity. However, you have done a grave disservice to yourself and IDA’s cause with your inability to shut off the self-serving rhetoric so soon after the death of Gita this weekend.

You’re quoted in the L.A. Times today as saying of Gita’s demise, “This is that tragic day that could have been avoided…” And I say to you that your show of protest was a tragedy that should have been avoided.

I found it disgusting and desperate that the IDA deemed it necessary to so selfishly and shamelessly parade at the zoo only a day after her death. In the wake of such a heartbreaking loss it’s a genuine pity you and yours couldn’t just shut up and honor the magnificent and beloved creature she was to the community that adored her, regardless of whether they stand with the zoo or with you.

William Campbell
Los Angeles

Then he wrote me back:

For years we have sought to bring attention to the living conditions of the Zoo’s elephant exhibit and the fact that foot bone disease (caused by concrete-like flooring and lack of exercise) is the major killer of elephants in captivity. Since the 70’s a dozen elephants have died before their time at the L.A. Zoo. Gita is number 13. We’ve always known how dangerous the situation has been at the zoo for Gita and that is why we have asked repeatedly for her and the other elephants to be transfered to a sanctuary of many acres of natural habitat. Had Gita first been relocated she would be alive today. Since you loved her so, one might wonder why you have never joined in these protests to save Gita’s life. Since we have been at the zoo regarding this subject for years it would have seemed highly unusual for us not to be at the zoo this past Saturday and Sunday. We would have been criticized for not caring. We will be holding further demonstrations asking for Ruby and Billy to be sent to a sanctuary. I’ll keep you posted should you wish to attend. Thank you very much. Bill Dyer, IDA

Well, I couldn’t let that paragraph-less block of propaganda go unanswered:

Mr. Dyer,

I’m not surprised that you felt the need to stoop to the implication that my love for Gita is somehow questionable or less than yours because I haven’t attended any of your organization’s past protests “asking” for her relocation. Sir, I have witnessed previous episodes of your rant-filled, disrespectful, myopic and venomous gatherings and for so-called animal lovers, you put out a lot of ugliness, misinformation and hatred.

Again, I have strived to balance an appreciation for the zoo with a respect for your goals as animal advocates, but your tactics are highly disappointing and repeatedly show there is no such fairness or balance or consideration on your side. Showing up so soon after Gita’s death to insult the zoo and embarrass zoo-goers may be your way of mitigating any criticism from your camp that you don’t care, but all it shows me is that you care about nothing but yourselves and promoting a slanted agenda, regardless the cost.

Will Campbell

And another thing, Bill. I’d think twice about keeping me in the loop regarding future demos. I’m liable to show up and protest you.

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."