Soon elephant may walk the state of Vermont if Rep. Dick Lawrence has his way. He is seeking to lift the ban on elephants in the state. While some countries and states have considered banning circus elephants over allegations of animal cruelty, Vermont banned all elephants in fear that they would bring tuberculosis to the state.
When I read this story on CNN’s state roundup, I was perplexed by the pachyderm peril of TB. It turns out that TB in elephants has been a problem, as shown by a recent outbreak. The CDC has an interesting site on the dangers of TB from elephants, here.
None of this explains the extreme decision to proclaim Vermont to be elephant-free. There has not been a more aggressive response to pachyderm peril since the lynching of Mary the Elephant by the good people of Tennessee.
Lawrence is taking a risk at being accused of being soft on the pachyderm peril. This could lead to a Willie Horton commercial by his opponents featuring Mary or some other rampaging elephant. It is too horrible to think of Vermonters gripping their Ben and Jerry’s while running from rogue TB-infested elephants. Is that what you want Mr. Lawrence?
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