SPRINGFIELD, MA (WFSB) -- The Big E confirmed on Wednesday that an elephant that had been at the annual event in the past has passed away.
Beulah, Commerford and Sons’ Asian elephant, died of natural causes at the age of 54, The Big E said on Wednesday in a press release.
It is unclear if the elephant died at the Big E or elsewhere.
She was known as a member of the Commerford family, and 47-year-old Tim Commerford has never known life without her.
“We are broken hearted,” said Gene Cassidy, Eastern States Exposition president. He asks for the public’s understanding and compassion during this difficult time. “If you truly loved Beulah, kindly remember her and the Commerford family in your thoughts and prayers,” he said, “They have lost a loved one.”
PETA released a statement on Wednesday saying "Beulah should have been left to enjoy family, home, and freedom in the wild—but instead, R.W. Commerford & Sons put her in chains and made money off her until the day she died. Her death should be a wake-up call, and PETA is calling on Commerford to give its remaining elephants the desperately needed retirement that Beulah never got—and on The Big E to end its exploitative wild-animal exhibits."
The Humane Society of the United States released a statement said "The fate of Beulah the elephant is a reminder that for most performing animals it is death alone that provides relief from bullhooks, cramped transport, overwork and other cruelties. Massachusetts legislators must follow the lead of six other states* that have passed laws protecting elephants in traveling shows since the Big E exposition has, for years, refused to eliminate its controversial wild animal displays. It’s also the right time for Connecticut-based Commerford to end its role in supplying elephants for such performances and transfer the remaining elephants to an accredited sanctuary so that they can live out their remaining days in dignity, peace and comfort.”