Elephant in the room - Metro US

Elephant in the room

Animal rights ads pushing for the relocation of the city’s biggest resident have become a big white elephant, although they haven’t yet been posted.

After what city officials are calling a “misunderstanding,” Pattison Outdoor Group, an ad agency, decided to pull sensitive ads bound for city property featuring the Valley Zoo’s now-controversial pachyderm, Lucy the elephant.

“These ads are entirely appropriate to run, they can, and should run,” said city communications director Robert Moyles.

Zoocheck Canada requested and paid for ads set to adorn billboards, buses and bus shelters reading “Isolation and a bitter cold winter on the way. Hasn’t she endured enough?”

Ads were to be erected yesterday, but were halted after Pattison officials claimed through email the city rejected them, Zoocheck spokeswoman Julie Woodward said.

“That’s a complete erroneous statement for Pattison to have made. They’ve apologized, for starters,” Moyles said. “Their explanation is that it is a sensitive local issue, so they assumed without checking with us.”

Pattison vice-president Brian de Ruiter confirmed the company made “an incorrect assumption about ads going up on city property,” based on “second-hand information that the ads would be frowned upon.”

Moyles said it’s too early to tell if the decision will affect the city’s future relationship with Pattison.

Various groups, including famed face of animal rights, Bob Barker, say Lucy should be moved to a sanctuary. Zoo officials claim though Lucy is healthy, a strenuous move would kill her.

“The city believes the public should debate this issue,” Moyles said.

All ads will be posted today, de Ruiter said.

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