Elephant torture claims not true, says park
NSPCA accused of plagiarising welfare report
PLAGIARISM allegations have surfaced in a row over the welfare of elephants at a Knysna park, with claims a National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) report was mostly copied.
The allegations came this week after the NSPCA tried to have workers at the Knysna Elephant Park charged with animal abuse. But prosecuting authorities found insufficient grounds to pursue a case.
The NSPCA last week vowed to try other ways to have those at the park charged while those at the park countered that they would take legal action against the NSPCA.
In the latest development, Knysna Elephant Park yesterday alleged that more than three quarters of the report entitled “The Welfare Status of Elephants in Captivity in South Africa”, was plagiarised. The NSPCA denied this.
Yesterday the park’s owner, Lisette Withers, said two members of her African Elephant Research Unit had compiled a responding document to it.
“The (unit’s document) indi- cated that large portions, in fact 76 percent, of the NSPCA report had been plagiarised from documents written by others about totally different elephants (in Thailand and zoos in Europe),” Withers said.
“We consider this fraudulently misleading.”
She said this had negatively affected her business, and could lead to job losses.
The document said the duo had found the NSPCA report “deeply flawed”, with text plagiarised from several online sources.
“Despite its introductory claims that it is based on ‘observations and findings during inspections’, the NSPCA’s report… is not a report of inspection findings by the NSPCA at all, but rather a collection of massive generalisations in the form of text plagiarised from various sources,” it said.
Yesterday a senior NSPCA inspector and an author of the report, Isabel Wentzel, said she was not surprised that the park was focusing on the report.
“They would of course dispute it… They’re trying to divert attention from the other matter,” she said.
Wentzel said some information in the report had been taken from other sources, but had been referenced.
Some of the report was based on inspections at various facilities, and could not have been copied from anywhere.
The row between the park and the NSPCA started in May last year when the NSPCA lodged complaints about animal cruelty against Elephants of Eden, which falls under the Knysna Elephant Park.
The NSPCA said it had got hold of video footage of “cruel and abusive training methods” used on young elephants.
The NSPCA said the director of public prosecutions in Grahamstown recently decided not to take the matter further as he could not be persuaded that the training methods constituted cruel treatment or unnecessary torture.
REJECTED: Staff at the Knysna Elephant Park claim that the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) plagiarised most of a report on the welfare of captive elephants in South Africa. The claim comes after the NSPCA accused the park of abusing elephants, allegations the park denies.