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Honoring Karen’s Memory by Calling for Minnie’s Freedom

By Courtney Fern

A Commerford Zoo handler uses a bullhook to compel Karen the elephant to give rides at a fair.
A Commerford Zoo handler uses a bullhook to compel Karen the elephant to give rides at a fair. Credit: The NhRP via an anonymous source

Today is the fourth day of our week of action in recognition of the suffering our clients have endured as a result of their imprisonment and with the hope they will soon be able to live freely and with peace and dignity.

This month marks two years since Minnie’s elephant companion Karen died of kidney failure at the young age of 38. Just a few months after Karen’s death, Minnie’s other elephant companion, Beulah, collapsed and died while the Commerford Zoo forced her to work at a fair. Minnie is now alone, without the necessary companionship of other elephants.

The Commerford Zoo is merely keeping Minnie alive; nothing about her life resembles what is necessary to meet her basic physical, psychological, and biological needs. She is kept on the Commerford Zoo’s small property in rural Connecticut where she appears to spend most of her time in a small, dark concrete-floored barn. In the last year of her life, Karen suffered out of sight at the Commerford Zoo, which had been her prison for over 30 years. Minnie has the chance to avoid Karen’s fate, and Karen’s story must not be forgotten.

Minnie forced to give rides at a fair. Photo: The NhRP

Actions of the day:

  • In Karen’s memory, please complete this action alert urging US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to use his authority to order the USDA to conduct an emergency inspection of the Commerford Zoo and investigate Minnie’s care and well-being.
  • Tweet at the USDA and Secretary Vilsack asking that they investigate the urgent concerns for Minnie’s welfare. Please include the hashtag #FreeMinnie in your tweet. A sample tweet is: “Minnie is a captive Asian elephant who has not been seen in public for over a year. Her captor, the Commerford Zoo, has acknowledged it cannot afford to meet her most basic needs such as food and veterinary care. @USDA and @SecVilsack please investigate now! #FreeMinnie”

Check out this blog post for other ways you can help Minnie.

Note: These social media action items are designed for Twitter, the social media platform that most effectively brings our action alerts to the attention of the public at large. If you do not have Twitter or prefer to advocate on another platform, you can still help by sharing this blog post and the above action alert.

Thank you!

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