In regards to Billy the Elephant... are the animal rights organizations that are trying to get him moves to PAWS likely getting kickbacks from PAWS or something? Why are they doing this?
Straight to the hard questions! Nicely done.
Honestly, I don’t know about this specific situation - because I’m not sure who it is that is lobbying the city councilman that is driving the motion. There have been mutterings that he’s funded by PETA, but I haven’t had a lot of luck tracking down his donor associations. (If anyone happens to have information, it’s Paul Koretz in District 5). When animal rights went after the Toronto Zoo elephants, it turned out to be ZooCheck that was whispering in city council ears.
However, there’s definitely some politics that are in play. PAWS is a GFAS (Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries) accredited facility. GFAS was created by the animal rights organizations and is very directly associated with both HSUS. What’s more, the CEO of Born Free - a super anti-zoo organization, and the one that runs the aforementioned ZooCheck organization - sits on the GFAS Board of Directors. GFAS is trying to get more exotics involved with their sanctuaries, because while they’re getting lots of attention because BCR won’t shut up about being a member most of their sanctuaries actually deal with domestics and farm animals. It’s also worth noting that GFAS is currently the main sanctuary ‘accrediting’ group, and most of the new AR legislation I’ve been reading has gone from talking about ‘sanctuaries’ to ‘accredited sanctuaries’ - it’s pretty obvious they’re setting themselves up to be the only accrediting group in existence when animals start getting confiscated and the legislation that’s getting passed says they have to go to accredited rescues and sanctuaries.
So it’s not really that PAWS gets kick-backs from AR organizations, it’s that most of the sanctuary industry is in bed with them and GFAS sanctuaries are literally part of the animal rights machine. They try to not have a ton of association with each other publicly, but if you look at the groups pushing USDA petitions and lobbying for AR legislation, you keep seeing all the same names: HSUS, Born Free, and GFAS.