Marissa Starkel Staff Writer
The Big E is an event that many look forward to all year long, but for animals this means being chained up and forced to provide entertainment against their will. The Commerford Zoo, located in Goshen, CT, has brought their elephants to The Big E for years to provide entertainment. They owned three elephants named Beulah, Karen and Minnie. It was only last year when a photo of Minnie being forced to provide rides while looking exhausted and depressed went viral. The only change that has been made is the ban of elephant rides, despite a petition that went in high-demand last year to ban elephants at The Big E.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to protect Beulah, who was brought to the fair this year. She passed away at the age of 54 on Sep. 15, 2019 after being ill and collapsing numerous times. Sheryl Becker, who is the founder and director of the Western Mass. Animal Rights Advocates stated, “It’s been like a waiting game. We have been expecting something horrible like this to happen to Beulah.”
Advocates have been attempting for years to get the elephants to a sanctuary where they can truly live the life that they deserve.
According to the Non-Human Rights Organization, “The USDA has cited the
Commerford Zoo over 50 times for failing to adhere to the minimum standards required by the Animal Welfare Act.” Failure to have someone supervising during public contact with the elephants, failure to keep an elephant under control while giving rides, and failure to dispose of a large amount of soiled bedding, hay, and feces at the barn are just a few examples of the mistreatment according to the Non-Human Rights Organization.
It is apparent that the owners of the Commerford Zoo value fortune over the well-being of their own “family.” I strongly believe that a true animal lover would provide the best care possible for their animal even if that meant sending them away to a sanctuary. Although Beulah may have lived a long life, at what cost? She spent her life being forced to entertain at fairs like The Big E, take part in commercials, and theatrical performances. Year after year at the fair she was chained up, and forced to give rides all day long in a small cement space. This consisted of children screaming, kicking, and pulling on her while giving them rides. When she didn’t listen, she’d get punished for it. Along with this was crowds of people surrounding her as they took photo after photo, day after day.
We must advocate for animals like Beulah, and make sure that they are being taken care of by the correct individuals. Whether an individual pays to see an elephant at a fair or not, by taking photos with one in an unhealthy environment, is supporting this cruelty. Wild animals belong in their natural habitat and don’t exist just for the entertainment of humans.