Why Massachusetts for Elephants?
The Ivory Market
- Massachusetts ranks 4th in ivory consumption in the US.
- Despite a federal ban on commercial trade of ivory in 2016, Massachusetts is facilitating an abundant intrastate ivory market through sales of undocumented ivory.
- A 2017 report on the elephant ivory market highlighted the Boston area, due to its many antique stores, markets and auction houses which sold ivory.
- The Nantucket Lightship Basket industry and Nantucket scrimshanders have turned to carving raw ivory for scrimshaw decorations since the outlawing of whaling in 1971.
- Antique dealers, scrimshaw carvers, and Lightship Basket manufacturers actively lobby MA State Representatives to keep the ivory trade alive. View article by clicking here.
- There is currently a bill before the MA legislature to ban the sale and use of new ivory and rhino horn in the Commonwealth: (S.519).
The Elephant ‘Entertainment’ Industry
- Elephants continue to be exploited for entertainment in the state; Massachusetts has yet to pass any statewide legislation prohibiting the use of elephants and exotic animals in circuses and traveling shows.
- In 2019, Buelah and Karen, two of three elephants owned by R.W. Commerford and Sons, a circus and traveling show company operating in Massachusetts under the name Commerford Zoo, died after decades of being forced to travel in trailers, perform, and carry up to 5 human riders. Efforts are ongoing to free the third elephant, Minnie, to one of the US’s two accredited elephant sanctuaries. View full article by clicking here.
- There is currently a bill before the MA legislature to prohibit the use of exotic animals in traveling shows: (S.2197, S.2189/ H.3245): An Act Relative To The Use Of Elephants, Big Cats, Primates, Giraffes, And Bears in Traveling Exhibits And Shows. Please click here to take action to help pass this important animal welfare legislation.
Join our Movement for Elephants
- Petition for legislation that protects global elephant populations from the ivory trade
- Support efforts to free elephants in captivity
- Learn about the role that the U.S., and Massachusetts specifically, play in the ivory trade
- Educate yourself and others on the threats facing elephants both nationally and internationally