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Wild animal tourism is getting the message, but what about protections here in Mass.?

Elephants gather in a herd at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka on Aug. 11, 2020. World Elephant Day is celebrated on Aug. 12 to spread awareness about the preservation and protection of elephants.LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP via Getty Images

Re “Love Animals? Here are some things not to do on your next vacation.” (Sunday Travel, April 4): Thank you for highlighting responsible vacations involving wild animals. This article is particularly timely for Massachusetts, since a bill is currently before the Legislature that would prohibit the exploitation of wild animals by the animal entertainment industry operating in our state. The proposed legislation enjoys broad support in the Legislature, and banning wild animal acts is popular statewide, particularly after the tragic deaths of two beloved elephants, Karen and Beulah, in 2019 after years of alleged abuse and neglect by their owners at the Commerford Traveling Zoo.

Despite bipartisan support, past versions of this legislation have not been brought to a vote. It is time for Massachusetts to join the six other states that have restricted or banned exotic animals in circuses or other traveling shows.


As your Travel article notes, “animals are not entertainers . . . bears don’t dance, and . . . elephants were not built to carry humans.” We urge our state lawmakers to pass this long-overdue animal rights protection.

Glenna Waterman and Sally Owen

Massachusetts for Elephants