Take Action


Taking action in Massachusetts can make a difference. We encourage you to petition your State Senator and State Representative to enact two pending pieces of legislation: Senate Bill S.496/ House Bill H.772 to prohibit the sale of ivory and rhino horn in Massachusetts; and Senate Bill S.2028/House Bill H.2934 to ban the use of elephants and exotic animals in traveling exhibits and shows.

Ivory Sales in MA

Ivory sales are still legal in Massachusetts, despite being banned internationally in 1989 and nationally in 2016. A 2017 report on the ivory market highlighted the Boston area because of its many antique stores and markets. The Nantucket lightship basket industry continues to use elephant tusks for their ‘scrimshaw’ decorations, because the use of whalebone is banned. Antique dealers and scrimshaw carvers lobby MA State representatives to keep the ivory trade alive.

Circuses and Traveling Shows in MA

Six states, including neighboring New York and Rhode Island, have prohibited the use of elephants and exotic animals in circuses and traveling shows. Massachusetts has yet to pass any statewide legislation. However, several municipalities have taken measures to keep circuses and traveling shows that feature exotic animals from performing. They include: Braintree, Cambridge, Menden, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Provincetown, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, Topsfield, and Weymouth.

Buelah, Karen, and Minnie

R.W. Commerford and Sons is a circus and traveling show company operating in Massachusetts under the name, Commerford Zoo. It is nationally known for three of its elephants: Buelah, Karen, and Minnie. For several years, the Non-human Rights Project has been advocating for their release to one of the accredited elephant sanctuaries in the U.S. Buelah and Karen have since died. Efforts on behalf of Minnie continue.

NOTE: MFE is not a lobbying organization. We share legislation and regulatory information to inspire you to act. However, local organizations that do engage in advocacy on behalf of animals include:

Massachusetts Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA)


Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL)


Share This