AN OPEN LETTER TO OLIVIA MUNN & INGRID NEWKIRK
Dear Olivia Munn, Ingrid Newkirk, and others
I am Dr. Annie Harvilicz, the founding veterinarian at Animal Wellness Centers in Los Angeles. I was very moved by your post today “Sarah Cannot Wait Another Day.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/olivia-munn/ringling-bros-animal-abuse-elephants_b_1106802.html
(Mother Jones Article here: http://motherjones.com/environment/2011/10/ringling-bros-elephant-abuse )
We want to help, and we have some ideas to share with you.
The Animal Wellness Centers community includes some attorneys. In fact, my brother David is an attorney and performed legal research for Ms. Newkirk several years ago regarding legal efforts to bring poultry under the Humane Slaughter Act.
We would like to help take action immediately to help Sarah.
Instead of waiting for the USDA (frankly we might not like the outcome should USDA decide Sarah should be euthanized) or Feld Entertainment (“Feld”) to do the right thing, we should act ourselves.
Our lawyers think legal action with an innovative cause of action could help drive Feld to do the right thing: I.e., turn Sarah over to an animal sanctuary immediately.
Our lawyers suggest considering a novel legal challenge to the way Sarah is being treated. As you probably know, U.S. law (wrongly) considers animals to be mere chattel or property. Attempting to challenge Feld’s treatment of Sarah in itself, although we believe it should be the strongest argument, will likely not yield the result we want.
Instead, they think there is room for CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT for FRAUD or FRAUDULENT INDUCEMENT to challenge to the way Feld uses Sarah and other elephants to induce Americans to buy tickets to their shows.
As you can see from www.ringling.com, health of the animals used in the circus is used as a material selling point to potential buyers (notice for example how they position the “Elephant Conservation” directly beneath the “Buy Tickets” option in the upper right corner of the page).
Finally, we could use www.wepay.com to crowdfund resources to help pay for a lawsuit and file very soon.
Please email or call us to discuss further. Thank you for fighting for Sarah. We hope to help in some way.
the Animal Wellness Centers Team