MANILA, Philippines – Members of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are set to deliver a printed version of an online petition to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on Tuesday as part of their call to release an elderly elephant from the Manila Zoo.
In a statement, PETA said members of the group will be outside the Department of Agriculture in Diliman, Quezon City at 11 a.m. on Tuesday to demand Alcala to facilitate the immediate transfer of Mali to a sanctuary in Thailand.
“Mali has been locked up in what amounts to no more than a prison for 35 painful years,” PETA Asia campaigns manager Rochelle Regodon said.
“The international outcry for an end to Mali’s loneliness and suffering grows louder with each passing day, but the Manila Zoo has turned a deaf ear. Now, it’s time for Secretary Alcala to take action.”
PETA’s petition on Change.org has gathered 60,177 signatures. The group earlier noted that Mali has been suffering from foot ailments, which is said to be the leading cause of death in captive elephants.
It added that the elephant is enduring loneliness, boredom and isolation in the Manila Zoo.
A number of lawmakers as well as the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines have expressed their support to the call to release Mali, which was featured in PETA’s 2012 Christmas ad campaign. The ad had the caption: “All I Want For Christmas Is My Freedom.”
Malacañang earlier said it has instructed government agencies to look into Mali’s condition.