Ailing Lucy the Elephant Passes on PETA Funding

MARGATE, N.J. (AP) -
Lucy the Elephant, the giant wood and tin elephant in Margate, New Jersey. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
Lucy the Elephant, the giant wood and tin elephant in Margate, New Jersey. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

The folks who care for the six-story wood and tin tourist attraction just outside Atlantic City have rejected an offer from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to fund part of Lucy’s restoration in return for using the attraction for anti-circus messaging.

PETA wanted to decorate Lucy “in a way that would educate visitors about the grim lives facing elephants in circuses.” That would have included shackling one of her feet and affixing a teardrop below one eye.

But Richard Helfant, CEO of Lucy’s board of trustees, said that would risk scaring or upsetting children who visit.

The 90-ton elephant was built in 1881 by a land speculator trying to lure people to what was then known as South Atlantic City. Since then, it has functioned as a restaurant, a tavern, someone’s house, and recently, a tourist attraction.

Helfant said PETA offered just $2,000 toward the $58,000 cost of renovations.