New Jersey has passed a bill to ban the use of all exotic animals in acts.
The bill – sponsored by NJ Senator Ray Lesniak and NJ Assemblyman Raj Mukherji passed the NJ Assembly [66-2] and the Senate [31-0], with overwhelming support.
The legislation – named Nosey’s Law after a long suffering circus elephant who was recently placed into a sanctuary, passed the NJ Senate last year, in a form which banned circus elephant acts.
It was then amended to ban the use of all exotic animals in traveling circuses.
Audiences are increasingly turned off by the use of wild animals in circuses – and several big ones including Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus have closed.
There are restrictions on the use of wild animals in circuses in more than 80 jurisdictions in 31 states.
San Francisco and New York City both have bans on wild animal circus acts, and Los Angeles is currently working on its own ban of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows nationwide.
Globally, more than 40 countries prohibit the exploitation of animals in this way – including Italy and Scotland.
Christina Scaringe is the General Counsel for Animal Defenders International (ADI).
She has been working with local advocates on the New Jersey legislation, and said: “Animal Defenders International thanks Senator Lesniak and Assemblyman Mukherji for their hard work, and the people of New Jersey, for taking the lead on this important issue.
“The overwhelming evidence shows wild animals suffer in traveling circuses, and New Jersey’s action today recognizes this.
“We are delighted that New Jersey made this historic step to end circus suffering, and we call on other states and the federal government to follow their lead.”
A PETA spokesperson added: “No living being exists simply to be a spectacle or to perform tricks for human entertainment, yet all circuses and traveling shows that use animals treat them as mere props, denying them their freedom and an adequate standard of living.
“Elephants, tigers, bears, and other animals in circuses are forced to perform under the threat of punishment with sticks, bullhooks, whips, and electric prods – by businesses that claim to offer a good time for the whole family.
“Torn away from their homes and subjected to beatings, isolation, and neglect, these animals will continue to pay the price for human greed as long as people continue to pay the admission fees to these performances.
“PETA thanks Sen. Lesniak and the animal rights advocates of New Jersey, who proved that if we work hard together, we can restore the freedom that all animals exploited by circuses deserve.”