Animal Legal Defense Fund Case for 57-Year-Old Elephant Heads to Trial | Animal Legal Defense Fund

Federal Judge Xavier Rodriguez denied key parts of the San Antonio Zoo’s motion for summary judgement, holding that the Animal Legal Defense Fund had provided sufficient facts demonstrating the zoo may be violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by holding an endangered elephant, Lucky, in conditions that injure her both physically and psychologically. The zoo must now defend its treatment of Lucky in a full trial, currently scheduled to begin on Oct. 2, 2017.

The ruling, released Friday, June 9, also strongly rejected the zoo’s legal argument that its purported compliance with the Animal Welfare Act shields it from liability under the ESA. This is a significant legal ruling that has broad application to any endangered species in captivity, including Lolita the orca, whose captivity at the Miami Seaquarium in a shockingly tiny tank has been the subject of litigation for years.

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