About 30 supporters of legislation that would ban wild exotic animals from traveling shows in Massachusetts rallied on the steps of the State House on Tuesday ahead of a committee hearing on the bills.
Bills in the Senate and House are under review by the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development and were the subject of a legislative hearing Tuesday. The proposals would ban the use of elephants, big cats, primates, and bears in traveling acts such as circuses and fairs.
“The jig is up, and people understand that organizations that exploit animals for human entertainment is no longer entertaining,” said Rob Halpin, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Halpin estimated that up to 30 people attended the State House rally.
Last month, a 54-year-old Asian elephant died at The Big E fair in West Springfield after collapsing, the Globe reported.
The death of the elephant, Beulah, renewed efforts by animal rights advocates across the state to free large wild animals “from performing in traveling exhibits and shows — environments that can never meet the complex health and socialization needs of these wild animals,” the MSPCA said in a statement.
“We know so much more about what these animals need now than we ever have before,” Halpin said. “It’s just impossible to meet these needs in these environments when they’re in chains and being shipped all over the country to climates that don’t suit them, forced to perform under lights that scare them, in front of crowds that scare them.”