It is long past time the Big E ended displays involving wild animals — or what should be wild animals — held in captivity.
As if to prove the point, earlier this month, Beulah the elephant, owned by R.W. Commerford & Sons Traveling Petting Zoo in Goshen, Connecticut died during the Big E at the age of 54. According to Western Mass. Animal Rights Advocates, there have been reports that Beulah was ill at the fair and collapsed. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals targeted the Big E and called on them to end wild animal exhibits following a viral photo of a different Commerford-owned elephant, Minnie, that looked ill and was limping.
The Big E is dedicated to showcasing the history and culture of the New England states and particularly the Springfield region. Why put on exhibits featuring animals from the other side of the world that would never set foot in New England, had they not been captured and imprisoned? Elephants are intelligent and compassionate creatures. Beulah herself was among the animals at the center of a lawsuit filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project, attempting to secure civil rights for nonhuman animals.
According to the Nonhuman Rights Project, Beulah was born in the wild in 1967 in Myanmar, imported to the United States sometime between 1969 and 1973, and acquired by Commerford & Sons in 1973. Since that time — the vast majority of Beulah’s life — she was held in captivity far from her natural home and forced to give rides to children and adults and do other performances. She also suffered from a foot disease, according to the Nonhuman Rights Project.
In addition to Beulah’s death, the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that Karen, another Commerford-owned elephant, died earlier this year. Now, Minnie, who appeared in the viral photo, is the last of the elephants owned by Commerford & Sons, according to the Nonhuman Rights Project.
Meanwhile, Big E President Eugene Cassidy last week compared animal rights activists to terrorists in defending the practice of having elephants at the fair, according to MassLive.
Traveling animal acts involve forcing animals to live in tight quarters as well as to endure training methods that often involve physical punishments. The Big E, and indeed all fairs, should end these acts and exhibits. The Three County Fair can serve as a good example. It discontinued its wild animal and pig racing exhibits this year.
Editor’s note: After publication, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi initiated an impeachment inquiry Tuesday evening. Rep. Richard Neal has said he supports it.
For the love of all that is holy, the time for impeachment was months ago. President Donald Trump has been acting bolder, flaunting his immoral and unethical behavior. In pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s family dealings, which both Trump and his lawyer Rudolph Giuliani have strongly implied they did, he has colluded with a foreign government to attempt to sway the coming 2020 election. Whereas before Trump’s rallying cry was “no collusion,” The New York Times has pointed out that his attitude toward this most recent scandal — the latest of many — is “so what if I did?”
Local representative Richard Neal of Springfield is now one of a shrinking number of Democrats who has not come out in favor of impeachment — less than a third as of Tuesday morning, according to Politico.
My question: What are they waiting for?!
These flagrant abuses of power will continue without impeachment. If Trump is acquitted in the Senate, which most mainstream news outlets see as the most likely outcome, the continuation of Trump’s criminal behavior will be on the Republican majority, many of whom are facing re-election in an increasingly hostile environment for their party.
Do the right thing: Impeach this president!
Dave Eisenstadter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.