Nonhuman Rights Project Fighting to Free Commerford Elephants

1. March 2019

The Nonhuman Rights Project has been working on behalf of three elephants at the Commerford Zoo in Goshen, CT. The elephants Beulah, Minnie and Karen are forced to travel up and down the  US East Coast to perform under miserable conditions at state fairs and other such events. Often they are forced to give rides to children.  For ethical concerns and the safety of their children, parents should not expose their kids to direct contact with abused elephants.

In fact, the Commerford Zoo isn’t really a zoo, but much more of a traveling circus going wherever crowds are attracted to traditional gatherings such us trade fairs, guaranteeing the owners optimal profit opportunities at the expense of elephants and other animals. Commerford has sufficient alternatives such as carousels and other mechanical rides to earn a living without using animals.

Had the Nonhuman Rights Project succeeded in obtaining personhood for the elephants,  Beulah, Minnie and Karen would have the same  freedom and rights to a peaceful existence as you and I. Alas, the Superior Court Judge, Dan Shaban, noted that a fellow judge had denied the habeas corpus petition for theses elephants in December of 2017. So he simply seconded the new petition filed in June 2018. Denying  animals in general and elephants in particular any semblance of personhood is an ancient attitude justifying their exploitation. Judge Shaban might reflect on the correlation between the exploitation of humans and cultures where animals have no rights.

Leg chained elephant. Photo Credit: Christopher P.B. / shutterstock

I have great respect for Steven M. Wise and his Nonhuman Rights Project, and the tremendous tenacity exhibited in fighting against unjust laws as they impact other species. His is a long and difficult road in today’s world. Once achieved, the resulting changes will revolutionize the way we deal with other species, which should greatly enrich our own lives.

But in the meantime, the three elephants at the Comersford zoo/circus continue to be enslaved to make money for their owners in ways completely alien and harmful to their natural needs.  So the question arises whether there is anything that can be done to move these elephants to a sanctuary.  There, probably for the first time in their captive lives, they would benefit from proper nutrition, veterinary care and the freedom to decide how they would like to spend their remaining days without human coercion.

Asian wild elephant family enjoying their freedom. Photo Credit: Kasikun Kamoi / shutterstock

If you would like to help the 3 elephants at the Commerford traveling and petting zoo, please sign our petition entitled : Retire 3 elephants from traveling zoo to an appropriate sanctuary                

(Our avaaz petitions can be found  by clicking the petition button on our home page as of Tuesday, March 5)