Dear Elephant Lover and Advocate,
Thank you for offering to help protect elephants world-wide and here in Massachusetts. We hope you and your loved ones are well.
The time since we were last in touch has not been kind to elephants in Africa and Asia, and, as you most assuredly are aware, elephants in the wild are facing ever increasing dangers and threats to their very existence. Elephants in captivity are not faring much better. Our work has never been more urgent: Little has improved in the realm of protections for elephants, despite the obvious need for and popularity of legislative action on their behalf. Here in Massachusetts, an ivory ban bill has yet to be passed, and no state-wide prohibition on the use of elephants and other exotic animals in circuses and traveling shows has been made into law despite repeated attempts.
However, this may be the year. New legislation for both protections is again moving through the state legislature: the first, An Act Relative To The Use Of Elephants, Big Cats, Primates, Giraffes, And Bears in Traveling Exhibits And Shows (S.2028/H.2934), would prohibit the use of elephants and other wild animals by the animal entertainment community operating in our state. It now rests in the hands of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Culture. The other: An Act Relative To Rhinoceros Horn And Ivory Trafficking (S.576/H.903), would prohibit the sale of raw ivory and rhino horn. This bill is now in the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.
The ivory ban bill is the more contentious of the two and has always faced opposition from legislators from the south coast, particularly those representing New Bedford and Nantucket, where the scrimshaw carver and Nantucket Lightship Basket lobby is strong and influential. The substitution of elephant tusks for whalebone and teeth in these industries makes for stiff resistance to the banning of raw ivory, resulting in the consistent refusal of their representatives to support the ban.
The bill to prohibit the use of elephants and other exotic animals in traveling shows and circuses has wide bi-partisan report in both the Massachusetts House and Senate and has a better chance of finally being passed and made into law.
Calls and emails to your state senators and representatives can have a powerful impact on the fate of the bills. This is particularly true when they sit on a relevant committee considering these long-overdue protections. Hearing from all of us could mean the difference between the bills passing at long last or being shelved yet again. Calling is especially effective. Below are links to legislators’ contact information:
You can find your state senator/representative here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator
You can find the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Culture here: https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/J30/192
And the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture here: https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/J21/192
Your advocacy matters. Taking a few minutes to call or email your reps and members of the two joint committees could help convince our legislators that Massachusetts must join the other states that have listened to their constituents and made elephant protections and preserving the species a priority.
We would like to share that we have now achieved non-profit, 501(c)(3), status. We also have a new website, www.massforelephants.org, where you can read about what is going on in the elephant world and find resources for taking action to help protect and preserve elephants everywhere.
Stay tuned for further news. Many thanks to you all. If you would no longer like to receive our emails, reply with “unsubscribe” to this email. Stay safe and well.
Glenna Waterman, Chairwoman of the Board
Massachusetts for Elephants (MFE)