An unlikely list of celebrities spoke out today in support of an elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo named Billy. L.A.’s City Council was faced with the decision to either cut funding from the $42 million “Pachyderm Forest” exhibit, forcing Billy to move to a more rural sanctuary, or keep the elephant at the zoo. The council has now ruled in favor of keeping the funding for the exhibit, despite pleas from Lily Tomlin, Cher, and Kevin Nealon to let the elephant “retire” to a sanctuary.
L.A. Times reports that Cher, along with longtime elephant captivity opponent Lily Tomlin, spoke out before the City Council deliberated, saying, “I’m not a fanatic. I just love animals, like most Americans,” adding that keeping elephants in zoos is comparable to slavery.
Former Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash has been a vocal proponent of the zoo’s “Pachyderm Forest.” He even released a video plea for Billy to stay in the zoo on YouTube (embedded below). In the video, Slash emphasizes that the exhibit will be one of the “biggest Asian elephant enclosures in the country” and Billy has caretakers that are “at his every beck and call.”
Slash wasn’t the lone celebrity supporting the zoo’s exhibit: Betty White, of The Golden Girls, also sided with him. Elephants sure do bring random groups of celebrities together.