The Beatles singer calls for Mali’s transfer

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Friday, July 19, 2013

MANILA -- The Beatles star Paul McCartney has joined calls for President Benigno Aquino III to transfer the ailing elephant named Mali from the Manila Zoo to a spacious sanctuary in Thailand.

In the letter dated July 19 (, McCartney said the condition of Mali is "heartbreaking."

"I respectfully urge you to use your good offices to expedite the transfer as, with every single day that she remains in the zoo, Mali suffers...With a stroke of pen, you can bring an end to her suffering, and I urge you, with all my heart, to direct that Mali be given that joy now," the singer-songwriter said in his letter.

McCartney noted that it's been over a year since President Aquino issued a directive ordering the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to evaluate if Mali should be transferred to a sanctuary.

In a hearing held by the House committee on natural resources last January, representatives of BAI said they are yet to start the evaluation because they are having difficulties in extracting blood sample from Mali.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) said they are willing to shoulder all the fees to transfer Mali to Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand where his foot problem could be attended to.

McCartney also pointed out that foot and joint problems are the leading cause of death among captive elephants kept on hard surfaces like Mali's enclosure in the Manila Zoo.

"The video footage of Mali is heartbreaking. You only have to have a heart to see what so many experts have already pointed out: that the way she continuously favours one leg is a sign of constant pain," he said.

Earlier, former President-turned-Manila Mayor Joseph "Erap" Estrada rejected calls to have Mali transferred to Thailand. Instead, the government of Sri Lanka will be giving two elephants to the Manila City Government to serve as Mali's companions. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)

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