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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Maine adopts rules and regulations for circus elephants
Written by MFOA   
Friday, 16 May 2003
(Falmouth) Maine will become the first state to pass legislation to address the treatment of performing elephants. A three year effort by Maine Friends of Animals (MFOA) and "Elephant Free in 200'j' culminated with legislation that requires the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to adopt rules regarding the care and treatment of elephants. Maine would be the first state to require specific guidelines for the care of elephants to be put into law. MFOA and animal activists in Maine have long contended circus elephants' lives are miserably inhumane. "When romanticizing the circus with wild elephants, three basic facts are concealed — the excessive and abusive training, the terrible life and conditions when not performing and the sad disposition of the animal after it is no longer useful to the circus," said campaign coordinator, Suzanne Carr. Supporters of the legislation have pointed to the fact that elephants spend the vast majority of their time in chains. This wild animal that normally roams 20 miles a day spends much of its life traveling in a truck or boxcar chained at the ankle living in its own feces and urine. No light. No heat if cold. No AC if it is hot.

Some of these practices will now be in violation of the new rules that will be written by the Agriculture Department and Animal Welfare Department. The rules will specifically be based on the federal Animal, Plant and Health Inspection Services Guidelines (APHIS). These federal guidelines will be written into law in Maine. The amended bill awaits the likely signature of the governor.

The bill was originally introduced in the 120'h legislative session by So. Portland Representative Chris Muse. The "elephant bill" became the first such legislation to pass in a state House. It then lost in the Senate. But almost immediately after the session, Maine animal activists formed "Elephant Free in 200')" and continued their effort to get this landmark legislation passed this session.

"This was an organized and continuous effort to work with the legislative process to bring about animal protection legislation," said MFOA president and director, Robert Fisk, Jr. "We are very encouraged that other states are likely to take Maine's lead and also pass legislation that will end the plight of these magnificent, intelligent and social animals."
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