Edmonton

PETA, Zoocheck, appeal Lucy case to Supreme Court

Animal rights activists are taking their fight over Lucy, the Edmonton Valley Zoo elephant, to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Bob Barker meets Lucy in September 2009. The former TV game-show host is among a the celebrities who want Edmonton's Valley Zoo to move the Asian elephant to a U.S. sanctuary. (CBC)

Animal rights activists are taking their fight over Lucy, the Edmonton Valley Zoo elephant, to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Clayton Ruby, the lawyer for PETA and Zoocheck, filed the 23-page appeal with the country's top court Wednesday.

The two groups want Lucy moved from the city-owned zoo, where they believe inadequate living conditions are aggravating her chronic health issues, which include arthritis and chronic foot and respiratory problems.

Ruby argues Lucy's health will continue to deteriorate if she's not moved to a warm-weather sanctuary, which gives her more space and the companionship of other elephants.

Officials at the Valley Zoo believe she won't survive the move and say it is in her best interests to remain in Edmonton.

The Alberta Court of Appeal ruled 2-1 in favour of the City of Edmonton in a decision released Aug. 4.

Chief Justice Catherine Fraser offered a 42-page dissent, stating that the "case should go to trial on the important points of law that potentially impact on both the protection of animals in this province and the public interest in the city’s compliance with the law. The appellants, for the public and on behalf of Lucy, are entitled to their day in court."

She also found that affidavits submitted by the animal rights groups - from an ecologist, an elephant biologist and ethologist, and two veterinarians - are relevant to the case, despite the city's argument that they are not.