An elephant rental company is striking back against what it calls "inaccurate and inflammatory news reports" regarding the baby elephant born at the Oregon Zoo.
California-based Have Trunk Will Travel sent a letter to the editor of The Seattle Times. The company also forwarded a copy of the letter to FOX 12.
Have Trunk Will Travel became the center of a nationwide controversy after a Seattle Times report said the business was the legal owner of Rose Tu's baby elephant, born Nov. 30.
After the article was published, debate sparked online and around the country about whether the yet-unnamed 300-pound calf would be taken away from the Oregon Zoo. On Tuesday, both the zoo's director and Have Trunk Will Travel said the baby was not going anywhere.
The company released a statement Tuesday night saying, in part, "Have Trunk Will Travel has no intention and has never had any intention of coming to take Rose-Tu's calf."
The company followed that up with a letter to the editor of the Seattle newspaper Thursday. The letter not only addressed the situation regarding Rose Tu's elephant baby, but also video distributed online by activists claiming the company improperly treats its animals.
The letter provided by Have Trunk Will Travel to FOX 12 is printed below:
Have Trunk Will Travel would like to correct the inaccurate and inflammatory news reports that led people to believe that we were going to take Rose-Tu's calf from her. This unnecessary controversy has taken away from the joy and celebration of the birth of the beautiful, healthy elephant calf born to Rose-Tu and Tusko. She is being nursed and nurtured by her mother. That is a great accomplishment. This birth epitomizes what we work toward and what we care about.
Have Trunk Will Travel is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan. We partner with zoos and others and work together to enhance the propagation and survival of this endangered species. The breeding loan agreement we have with the Oregon Zoo is common among elephant holding facilities. We cooperate and collaborate with many zoos.
We, along with our dedicated staff, care for our elephants every day. We donate our time and money for the elephant causes we believe in. We are proud to work with and for our elephants and earn the revenue it takes to care for them and to support our breeding program and the conservation work we contribute to.
We regret that misinformation has caused our partners and the public distress. The heavily edited video purporting abuse of our elephants taken by an animal rights extremist group is being run along with the story. The seven year old video is a blatant attempt to malign our character and reputation. The video was at the heart of a lawsuit brought against us by an animal rights extremist group. That case was dismissed with prejudice. No legitimate animal welfare agency or elephant management group has given the video any credence.
Everyone at Have Trunk Will Travel is grateful for the outpouring of support from our friends, fans, the elephant and zoo communities and especially the Oregon Zoo. We look forward to meeting the new baby.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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