When he first heard a plea to protect circus elephants around 2001, Sen. Robert Hedlund, a Weymouth Republican, said he thought it was a “crazy type of left-wing” effort.
But Hedlund, at a Monday press conference, said he found himself captivated by what he heard – that elephants are routinely and violently clobbered by their trainers, chained and confined to small, concrete pens and severed from their natural clans, which can cause psychological trauma.
Wielding a “bull hook” – a long, heavy instrument affixed with a sharp, curved metal hook – Hedlund took aim at the claims by circus officials that such tools are used merely as guides to tame elephants.
“Our mindset as a society has really evolved beyond this 19th-century mentality where we would strip animals from the wild… and force them to do acts that are not natural to them for the benefit of a viewing audience,” he said.
Hedlund is the sponsor of legislation (S 1870) that would prohibit the use of a bull hook on elephants in traveling circuses that pass through Massachusetts.
WBZ’s Jonathan Elias offered a fairly pitiful attempt at parody in his coverage of the event.
I used to like the elephant acts at the circus, but I don’t like them any more now that I have seen this:
Co-sponsors of the bill deserve a hearty round of applause, and underline the bi-partisan support for this measure.
The 13 co-sponsors of the bill include Sens. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham; Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester; Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford; and Susan Tucker, D-Andover; and Reps. Lida Harkins, D-Needham; John Fresolo, D-Worcester; Anne Gobi, D-Spencer; and Bruce Ayers, D-Quincy.
Cruelty to animals injures all of us.