Calls/letters/emails needed for Massachusetts bills to ban elephants in traveling animal acts
Massachusetts House Bill 418 and its companion bill, Senate Bill 1898, have been sent to the House Ways and Means Committee for consideration. These bills have already been voted through the Environment Committee with an “ought to pass” recommendation. H 418 would prohibit the use of elephants in “any exhibition, public showing, presentation, display, exposition, fair, animal act, circus, ride, trade show, petting zoo, carnival, parade, race, or similar undertaking in which animals are required to perform tricks, give rides, or participate as accompaniments for the entertainment, amusement, or benefit of a live audience.”
The Massachusetts state legislature is currently in the first year of a two-year session, so legislators have more than a year to act on this legislation before the session ends in December 2018.
The House Ways and Means Committee will not hold a public hearing on these bills. If H 418 passes this committee, it could go straight to the House floor for a vote. Therefore, phone calls, emails, and/or letters to the chairman of House Ways and Means Committee will be the best way for you to voice your opposition to banning elephants from any traveling acts or exhibits.
** Please Note**
Rep. Jeff Sanchez, Chairman of House Ways and Means, is a co-sponsor of H 418. It is very important that any calls or other communications with Chairman Sanchez are respectful and mindful of the position he has taken so far. Arguments against the bill and facts about elephant care and well-being should be presented on their own merits, without any derogatory remarks against any supporters of the bill.
The Honorable Jeff Sanchez
Chairman, House Ways and Means Committee
Phone: (617) 722-2990
Sample Talking Points
The following are suggestions for your correspondence, but please use your own words and experiences, especially if you have worked with elephant exhibitors and/or can cite personal anecdotes about recognizing the educational value of seeing elephants in person.
- Politely let Chairman Sanchez know that you are OPPOSED to any legislation that would prevent elephant exhibitors from visiting Massachusetts.
- All traveling acts that use elephants and other animals are required to have a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) exhibitor’s license. USDA conducts regular unannounced inspections of performing animals and their stable areas, and their inspection reports are a matter of public record.
- Animal exhibitors are also subject to state and local animal cruelty laws and permit requirements. Such regulations provide protection to all performing animals and allow for the prosecution of those who neglect or mistreat the animals in their care.
- If any animal is being mistreated in any environment, then the right answer is to enforce existing laws and regulations to punish bad actors, as opposed to punishing an entire industry and the public who enjoy elephant exhibitions.
Thank you for your help, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Lou Kelly