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Animal rights group says elephants at St. Louis zoo not getting enough space

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(UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)
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A St. Louis Zoo elephant named Raja.

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – An animal rights group says elephants at the St. Louis zoo are suffering foot and joint problems because of poor housing conditions.

California-based In Defense of Animals filed a complaint this week with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

IDA's Suzanne Roy said the St. Louis Zoo and others across the country do not give elephants enough space.

"This prevents elephants from getting exercise, and forces them basically to stand in one place," Roy said. "And this causes arthritis and foot disease, and those ailments plague the elephants at the St. Louis Zoo." Roy said the complaint was based on public records. And nobody from IDA examined the elephants.

St. Louis Zoo director Bill Boever said the elephants are all healthy, and IDA's complaint does not tell the whole story.

What they failed to say was that in each case, if there was a problem, we treated it, and the animals have recovered.

IDA says it is not opposed to the existence of zoos, it just wants the USDA to strengthen standards for animal care.

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