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Lily Tomlin Joins Effort To Stop Hope, Maine Elephant Facility

Lily Tomlin is our newest ally in the fight to stop an unsafe and inhumane elephant facility in Hope, Maine. She’s written to Maine Governor LePage expressing opposition to the plan, and we now need Maine citizens to back her up by telling your elected officials that this plan is not good for the elephant or for the state.

Lily TomlinThe proposed facility, which will masquerade as an elephant “sanctuary,” will bring an elephant named Rosie from a circus-related facility where she is not performing to live by herself in a tiny enclosure and weather conditions that will force her to spend most of the year indoors.

There are grave human safety concerns involved with this project that include a dangerously inexpert handler, unsafe and inhumane training methods (including use of the bullhook, a weapon resembling a fireplace poker that is used to control elephants through fear of painful punishment), and the threat of tuberculosis, which is transmissible to humans.

The town of Hope may have approved construction of the facility, but there are still hurdles at the state and federal levels. That’s why we’re asking you to appeal to legislators in your state and in Congress.

IDA wants Rosie sent to a real sanctuary, one with other elephants, acres and acres to roam, and expert caretakers. But we need your help to do this.

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1.   Contact Governor LePage and ask him to oppose this plan and to support sending Rosie to a true sanctuary. To email Governor LePage you must use this on-line form. You can also call 207-287-3531 and send a fax to 207-287-1034. Use the talking points in the sample letter below.

2.   Contact your elected officals in Congress and ask them to oppose this plan and to urge the USDA to deny a permit for this facility due to unsafe and inhumane conditions.

3.   If you haven’t done so already, please contact your state representative and senator, urging them to oppose the plan and to support sending Rosie to a real sanctuary.

elephant RosieClick here to find the contact information for both your state representatives and your federal representatives. Note that some of your representatives will not have actual e-mail addresses - they will instead direct you to their online web form to submit comments.

We are not providing a click-and-send letter since your personal letter and phone calls will be more effective. Please modify and personalize the sample letter below and paste it into an email, and be sure to identify yourself as a Maine voter. Please follow-up with a phone call to express your opposition to keeping an elephant in Maine.

For more info, contact Catherine Doyle:, 323-301-5730.

Sample letter to copy and paste into your e-mail, then personalize:

Dear (insert name of Senator/Representative/Governor):

I was shocked to learn of the plan to bring the elephant Rosie to Hope, Maine. I am asking you to do all that you can to ensure this does not happen, as it is unsafe for the public and inhumane for the elephant.

I love our state, but it is no place for an elephant. Cold temperatures would force Rosie to spend most of the year inside a tiny barn, which is harmful for an arthritic elephant like her. She also would be held alone, though elephants are highly social animals. It is cruel to keep them in solitary confinement.

I am also extremely concerned that the proposed facility is unsafe for workers, volunteers and visitors. No one associated with the plan has the experience or skill needed to safely handle a four-ton elephant. This presents a grave danger to anyone working with or coming into contact with the elephant, including children. I am also concerned that there is the risk of the elephant developing tuberculosis, which is transmissible to humans. Rosie reportedly lived with an elephant who carried the disease.

The best course of action is to send Rosie to an established sanctuary, where she would have vast room to roam, the company of other elephants, and a team of highly trained elephant staff. If the best interests of this elephant were truly at heart, the person behind the Hope plan would help make this happen.

Please protect the public and this elephant, and avoid the controversy that is sure to befall our state if this project goes forward.

Thank you.



In Defense of Animals, located in San Rafael, Calif., is an international animal protection organization with more than 100,000 members and supporters dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals by protecting their rights and welfare. IDA's efforts include educational events, cruelty investigations, boycotts, grassroots activism, and hands-on rescue through our sanctuaries in Mississippi, Mumbai, India, and Cameroon, Africa.

In Defense of Animals is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We welcome your feedback and appreciate your donations. Please join today! All donations to IDA are tax-deductible.

In Defense of Animals
3010 Kerner, San Rafael, CA 94901
Tel. (415) 448-0048 Fax (415) 454-1031

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