The Washington Post - 22.08.2019

(Joyce) #1

THURSDAY, AUGUST 22 , 2019. THE WASHINGTON POST EZ RE A


CALIFORNIA


School reopens probe


of Nazi salute video


School officials in Orange
County said they will reopen an
investigation into a group of high
school students seen on video
giving Nazi salutes last year after
additional racist images
surfaced, according to a report
Wednesday.
The initial video obtained by
the Daily Beast — which posted
about eight seconds of it — shows
members of the boys’ water polo
team at Pacifica High School in
an empty room that
administrative officials say was
later used for an athletic
banquet. The video showed
about 10 boys in a stiff-arm salute
while singing a Nazi marching
song.
The Garden Grove Unified
School District said in a
statement that the footage was
recorded in November but that
administrators hadn’t become
aware of the video until March. It
said the students were
unsupervised at the time. The
district said Monday that
administrators had “addressed
the situation with all students
and families involved” but did
not specify what disciplinary
actions it took.


The Los Angeles Times
reported that since Monday,
officials said several other videos
showing students engaged in
hate speech have surfaced. Those
videos will be examined as part
of the district’s reopened
investigation. It was not
immediately clear what’s in the
new videos or whether they
included students from Pacifica
High.
Pacifica High School Principal
Steve Osborne apologized during
a school board meeting Tuesday
for failing to address the original
video with the entire school
immediately after it was brought
to administrators’ attention.
— Associated Press

GEORGIA

4 students wounded
at college block party

Four college students were
wounded when a gunman
opened fire into a crowd of 200
people outside a library near
Clark Atlanta University and
then escaped in the chaos,
authorities said.
All four injured women were
in stable condition after the
gunfire, which happened shortly
after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. None of
the injuries were considered to
be life-threatening, Atlanta

police said.
The gunshots began after an
argument broke out between two
parties and someone opened fire,
investigators said.
The shooter had not yet been

apprehended as of Wednesday
evening.
The four students were shot
outside a library that serves
Clark Atlanta and other nearby
historically black colleges.

Two of the victims, ages 17 and
18, are students at Spelman
College, a nearby women’s
school. Investigators believe the
other two women, ages 18 and 19,
are Clark Atlanta students, police

said.
The block party, held the night
before the first day of classes, was
celebrating the end of
orientation for new students.
On Wednesday, there was a
heavy security presence on
campus and in front of the
library.
— Associated Press

Man charged over Trump-
shaped ecstasy pills: A Florida
man who was found to have
ecstasy pills shaped like
President Trump’s head has been
charged with unlawful
possession of controlled
substances, the Pinellas County
Sheriff ’s Office said. Brendan
Dolan-King, 23, was charged on
Friday in Clearwater after police
searched his apartment in June
and discovered fentanyl and five
orange pills shaped like Trump’s
head, which were later found to
contain the hallucinogen MDMA,
or ecstasy. The confiscation
resembles an incident in Indiana
in 2018, when the Lafayette
Courier-Journal reported that
police patrolling an interstate
highway seized an orange tablet
in the shape of the 45th
president’s head, with his lips
puckered on the front and “Great
Again” printed on the back.
— From news services

DIGEST

ROBERT F. BUKATY/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Early risers are rewarded with a colorful sunrise over Casco Bay in Portland, Maine, on Wednesday.

Politics & the Nation


BY KARIN BRULLIARD

The bullhook — a rod with a
blunt or pointed hook at one end
— has been used for centuries to
get elephants to do humans’ bid-
ding. And although the tool is now
associated with some of the worst
abuses of the hulking animals and
is prohibited in several cities and
states, it has remained in use at
top American zoos.
That is set to change. The board
of the Association of Zoos and
Aquariums, an accrediting or-
ganization that previously de-
fended bullhooks as essential
management tools, recently voted
to phase out the instrument’s use
in routine elephant care and
training by the start of 2021. It
also approved a statement of in-
tent to end the use of bullhooks
except in emergencies and non-
routine medical care by 2023. The
decisions will affect about 30 zoos
that still use bullhooks to varying
degrees, according to the AZA.
Dan Ashe, president and CEO
of the association, said in an inter-
view that the change was not
inspired by concerns about el-
ephant welfare at member zoos,
which he said use bullhooks in
limited circumstances as
“guides.” Instead, he said, the
board wanted its standards to
“reflect modern zoological prac-
tice.” In an internal survey this
summer, nearly 80 percent of the
62 AZA zoos that care for 305
elephants said they do not use
bullhooks or the changes would
have no or little impact on their
programs, he said.
“The fact that most of our mem-
bers are not using bullhooks at all


and are managing elephants quite
successfully indicates that alter-
native procedures are available,”
Ashe said. Given that, he added,
“and its historical association
with archaic, abusive treatment of
elephants, the board decided this
was a good step.”
Scrutiny of elephant captivity
has grown alongside an expanding
body of research documenting the
animals’ keen intelligence, com-
plex social structures and unique
physical and psychological needs.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bai-
ley Circus ended in 2017 following
public pressure and local laws that
forced it to retire its famed el-

ephant acts. Some zoos have closed
their elephant exhibits, citing ethi-
cal concerns. This week, members
of the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species are
considering a proposal that would
restrict the sale of wild African
elephants to zoos in the United
States and elsewhere.
The AZA’s shift on bullhooks is
“a long-overdue move to protect
elephants from a weapon whose
only purpose is to inflict pain or
evoke the fear of pain,” said Ra-
chel Mathews, deputy director of
captive animal law enforcement
at the PETA Foundation. Nicole
Paquette, chief programs and pol-

icy officer at the Humane Society
of the United States, said she was
“encouraged” by the AZA’s phase-
out of a “horrible, outdated train-
ing tool.” Both groups called on
the association to oppose the im-
portation of wild elephants.
AZA prohibited most “free con-
tact” between keepers and ele-
phants starting in 2011, and zoos
now manage the animals primari-
ly through barriers. That move,
made to protect keepers after
high-profile deaths, ended the use
of bullhooks at many zoos. At
others, the tools — also known as
ankuses or goads — have contin-
ued to be used through the barri-

ers to tap, prod, push and pull the
animals.
The 2011 decision was contro-
versial within zoos. Some closed
their elephant exhibits in re-
sponse, and one, the Pittsburgh
Zoo, left the association over what
it called a “philosophical differ-
ence of opinion.” Some people
with ties to the industry, who
spoke on the condition of ano-
nymity about internal discus-
sions, said similar discord is sim-
mering over the bullhook policy.
Ashe said only a “small seg-
ment” of zoos protested the move.
A spokeswoman for one that has
recently faced criticism for its use

of bullhooks, the Roger Williams
Park Zoo in Providence, R.I., said
Tuesday that the facility would
comply with the change.
“This is a great decision by the
board. If you’re not pushing for-
ward and raising standards, ev-
eryone kind of gets held hostage
by intransigent members,” said
Otto Fad, an animal behavior con-
sultant who eliminated bullhooks
and free contact when he was
hired in 2004 as elephant manag-
er at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay,
where he worked until 2017. “I
think it took some guts knowing
what resistance they were going
to face doing this.”
Fad described bullhooks as
“aversive” tools, even if they aren’t
used to beat elephants. A bit of
pressure can be an uncomfortable
and powerful signal to an el-
ephant, as can the mere presence
of a bullhook, he said.
“From a behavioral standpoint,
what do you do if mild discomfort
isn’t enough? You’re going to push
a little bit harder,” said Fad, who
trains zoos and aquariums on pos-
itive reinforcement methods,
which emphasize rewards.
Rob Shumaker, president of the
AZA-accredited Indianapolis Zoo,
said the zoo’s staff uses a bullhook
only to “cue” an elephant, and
mostly as an arm extension when
dealing with the enormous ani-
mals. Recently, he said, he observed
the dental exam of one of the tallest
of the zoo’s six African elephants.
The animal’s mouth wasn’t open
quite wide enough for the veteri-
narian to see inside, he said.
“So the trainer just took the
ankus and tapped underneath the
trunk near his mouth and asked
him to lift his trunk up higher.
And he did,” Shumaker said.
Asked what he thought about
the AZA decision, Shumaker said,
“If this helps change public per-
ception, then we’re all better off as
a result.”
karin.brulliard@washpost.com

Zoo group votes to phase out bullhook use on elephants


Accrediting organization
says other methods can
replace controversial tool

RICH PEDRONCELLI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which previously defended bullhooks as essential management tools, now intends to only allow
them in emergencies and in non-routine medical care. The decision will affect about 30 of the association’s zoos, according to the AZA.

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