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Oct

Traveling wild animal acts in Massachusetts

We recently had a number of inquiries expressing concern about the elephants and other animals at the Big E (a fair in W. Springfield). The exhibitor bringing these animals to the Big E, R.W. Commerford & Sons, is now exhibiting at the Topsfield Fair.

While MSPCA’s law enforcement officers responded to complaints about the animals at the Big E, they did not find any violation of the state’s cruelty law. However, this does not mean that this, or other similar exhibitors – usually offering circus performances or rides – are without problems. It just means that there were no violations of the felony animal cruelty statute at the time.

The MSPCA has long held concerns and spoken out about the use of wild animals in circuses and traveling acts, because of the suffering they cause to these animals, the false picture given of the animals displayed, the inherent problems of almost constant traveling, being chained while not performing, restrictive caging, and coercive training methods.

When the law doesn’t cover what we and society believes it should, we step up. We have led efforts to pass state legislation (and several municipal ordinances) to prevent wild animals from performing in Massachusetts. For more information about our concerns, visit our website.

What you can do to end these performances in Massachusetts:

  • Contact your state senator and state representative about H. 418, a bill to ban traveling elephant acts. Read more at www.mspca.org/elephantbill. If you do not know who represents you visit www.wheredoivotema.com.
  • Do not attend any circuses and traveling exhibits that use wild animals in their performances. Look for alternative forms of entertainment and circuses – there are many!
  • Attend our Summit on Passing Municipal Laws for Animals: Fight Puppy Mills and Circus Animal Abuse on October 27 in Worcester to learn how your city or town can join the nine municipalities in our state that ban wild animals from performances within their borders. Hear from local elected officials and advocates about their experiences working to pass municipal ordinances to protect animals.
  • File a complaint if you witness something that you think is problematic. Exhibitors that travel with wild animals are licensed by the USDA under the Animal Welfare Act. They inspect and can issue violations. You can file a complaint online or by calling at 919-855-7100. Additionally, MSPCA law enforcement officers can enforce the state’s cruelty statute if they find a violation.
  • Contact the organizers/sponsors of these events to let them know why you won’t attend and ask them to not use these acts.
  • Connect with other advocates in your community who rally and educate the public when wild animal circuses come to town. Email us at advocacy@mspca.org and we can help connect you.
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