BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Animal rights activists took to the steps of the State House Tuesday, equipped with signs and a large inflatable elephant with chains on its foot.
The rally was in support of a bill that would put an end to traveling shows in Massachusetts using elephants, large cats, primates, and bears in their acts.
Six states have passed similar bills.
Many of the protesters’ signs featured pictures of Beulah, a 54-year-old elephant who died at a traveling petting zoo at the Big E Fair in September. Beulah’s death became a rallying cry for animal advocacy groups in their fight against the use of exotic animals at these events.
“The only way to help prevent animal suffering at fairs and events with wild animals is to just ban them,” said Sheryl Becker, President of the Western Mass. Animal Rights Advocates. “There’s no way you can call an event with wild animals ‘humane.’ The travel in itself is horribly cruel.”
Signs also had pictures of another elephant, Karen, who died in March. Both Karen and Beulah were under the care of the Connecticut-based R.W. Commerford & Sons.
One protester, Pamela, noted that these animals often live in harsh conditions, and while it is difficult for many people to hear about animal abuse, it sometimes happens right under their noses.
“They tend to ignore it,” Pamela said. “They look the other way and they still put their children up on an elephant, and not look into their eyes and understand that it’s a living being that’s been abused for decades. It’s really time that it stops.”
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports