New Jersey becomes first state to ban wild animal circus acts
New Jersey has become the first state in the nation to bar circuses, carnivals and fairs from featuring elephants, tigers and other exotic animals.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill Friday authorizing the statewide ban, similar versions of which had been adopted by some local municipalities in the state.
The ban is named “Nosey’s Law” after a 36-year-old elephant in a traveling circus that animal rights groups say was abused by its owner and is now living in an animal refuge. The bill bars the use of elephants and other wild or exotic animals in traveling animal acts, including carnivals, circuses, parades, petting zoos and similar events.
“I am proud to sign ‘Nosey’s Law’ and ensure that New Jersey will not allow wild and exotic animals to be exploited and cruelly treated within our state,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. “These animals belong in their natural habitats or in wildlife sanctuaries, not in performances where their safety and the safety of others is at risk.”
The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Nilsa Cruz Perez and Assemblymen Raj Mukherji, Jamel Holley and Andrew Zwicker, is the latest in a national movement to protect wild animals.
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Illinois and New York banned the use of elephants in traveling acts last year. And Hawaii is considering legislation to ban imports of wild animals, which would effectively eliminate wild animal acts in the state, said Rachel Mathews, the deputy director of captive animal law enforcement at the PETA Foundation.
“This is a huge day for the elephants, tigers and other wild animals who are whipped and beaten in circuses and spend their lives caged and chained,” Mathews said. “PETA is so thankful for the bill’s sponsors for ensuring this abuse will never again happen in New Jersey.”
In January, just before he left office, former Gov. Chris Christie declined to sign “Nosey’s Law,” which had passed the Senate unanimously and with only two dissenting votes in the General Assembly. Christie’s pocket veto meant that the bill had to be approved from scratch under the Murphy administration.
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