Cher Loses Elephant Fight At Zoo Hearing
CHER's emotional appeal against the expansion of a Los Angeles zoo's elephant exhibit has failed to convince officials to abandon the hotly debated project.
The singer joined former U.S. TV game show host Bob Barker, among others, when she urged L.A. City Council bigwigs on Wednesday (28Jan09) to halt the development of Los Angeles Zoo's new elephant enclosure and use the cash to move pachyderm Billy.
Stepping up to the lectern at City Hall, Cher delivered an impassioned speech and was repeatedly asked by Council President Eric Garcetti to wrap-up after she passed the 60-second limit imposed on each member of the public.
Cher argued: "I'm not a fanatic. I just love animals, like most Americans... They say it's always been done this way, there's always been elephants in zoos. But it doesn't make it right because we've had other things we're ashamed of, like slavery."
The Mermaids star's plea was followed by actresses Lily Tomlin and Tippi Hedren, as well as Weeds actor Kevin Nealon, who also opposed the elephant exhibit.
But the stars' desperate protests weren't enough to convince L.A. officials, who voted 11-4 to finish the $42 million (£29 million) elephant enclosure and keep Billy at the zoo.
Barker, a long-time animal rights activist, told reporters he was "terribly disappointed" about the vote. Earlier this week (begs26Jan09) he had pledged $1.5 million (£1 million) to move the creature to a sanctuary in Northern California.