Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI statement on death of Commerford Zoo elephant

Posted: 24 September 2019. Updated: 24 September 2019

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is urging the public to avoid traveling wild animal acts and the Commerford Zoo to release their surviving elephants to reputable sanctuaries, following the death of Beulah.

The 54-year-old Asian elephant Beulah appeared in public for the first time since October 2018 at the Big E Fair in West Springfield, MA this past weekend, where she was used as a photo prop. Images taken at the event on Sunday show her collapsed on her side. On Monday it was announced she was no longer going to be at the fair. On Wednesday it was confirmed she had passed away. The Big E fair stated Beulah died of natural causes.

There will be a candlelight vigil in memory of Beulah at Gate 4 of the Big E fairgrounds, Sunday, September 22 at 7:00pm.

ADI President Jan Creamer said, "This tragedy symbolizes all that is wrong with the use of animals in entertainment. Instead of a life in the wild, these incredible animals are being carted around the country, confined and forced to perform. Please donít support wild animal acts and help stop their suffering today."

Supported by ADI, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) had brought a lawsuit to recognize the legal personhood of Beulah and two other elephants owned by the Commerford Zoo, Minnie and Karen. Minnie continues to appear at events, while Karen has not been seen since July 2018.

Studies of the use of wild animals in traveling acts show that the physical or behavioral needs of wild animals cannot be met. Animals are confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time shut in transporters. These animals are often seen behaving abnormally; rocking, swaying, and pacing, all indicating that they are in distress and not coping with their environment. ADIís video evidence has shown how these animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear, and intimidation.

Proving that attitudes are changing with the times, several states are considering bans on wild animal circus acts. In Massachusetts, Senators Tarr and Welch, and Representatives Ehrlich, Lewis, and Jones, introduced/cosponsored S.2028/H.2934, which seek to ban wild animals in traveling exhibits and shows throughout the state. New Jersey and Hawaii have already implemented statewide bans on the use of wild and exotic animals in circuses, with California set to become the third US state. Meanwhile, a federal bill to end the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows nationwide Ė the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA, HR2863/S2121) Ė is gaining bipartisan support. Around the world, 46 countries have passed national restrictions on the use of animals in traveling circuses.

Media contacts:
Lesley McCave, ADI Communications Director: (323) 935-2234/(323) 804-9920, or

Angie Greenaway, 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

© Animal Defenders International 2019