As a committed animal welfare worker with more than fifteen years of experience supervising the treatment of animals in the entertainment industry, I am extremely concerned with the City of Los Angeles’ current plan to fast-track privatization of the Los Angeles Public Zoo.
I am a long-time resident of Los Angeles. As a single mom, I took my daughter to the zoo all of the time. The zoo’s more than 1.5 million yearly visitors will tell you, it’s one of the region’s most affordable attractions available to families. Parking is free and thousands of schoolchildren visit the zoo each year at absolutely no cost.
But that’s just half the story. The employees who work at the zoo are professionals committed to the welfare and preservation of the animals. These dedicated workers were instrumental in bringing the California Condor back from the verge of extinction.
How do we know so much about how the animals at the zoo are treated? Because the zoo is a public facility staffed by civil service workers beholden to civil service rules. In short, the zoo currently operates with complete transparency. We know who the workers are, their expertise and backgrounds. The public has access to all animal welfare reports and other important information. Our elected officials are responsible for monitoring conditions at the zoo.
But if a private company or equity firm gains a monopoly over the zoo, I fear transparency and public oversight will go away. Remember, private companies put profits ahead of the public good – and ahead of the needs of the animals.
For these reasons, I hope you’ll join me in signing this petition urging Los Angeles City Council not to hand over control of our animals to a private company.
-- Barbara Casey, LA resident
Join Barbara Casey and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) - Local 721 in the fight to keep the LA Zoo out of private hands.