Help New Jersey Ban The Use Of Exotic Animals In Circuses


The state of New Jersey is very close to banning the use of exotic animals in circuses. This is huge news, as so far the only states in the United States (U.S.) to enact bans on the use of elephants in circus performances are Illinois and New York. The New Jersey ban would be the first state in the entire U.S. to take the circus ban a step further, making it illegal to use any kind of exotic animals in circus shows, including elephants as well as tigers, lions, bears, and any other exotic animals.

This legislation has been in the works for several years now, and has had many setbacks along the way. Most notably, the bill failed in the last legislative session when former NJ governor Chris Christie refused to sign it into law before leaving office. But now the state of New Jersey has a new governor, Phil Murphy, and there is renewed hope that the circus ban may finally become a reality. In October this historic circus bill (S1093/A1923) was passed by both the NJ State Assembly and the NJ State Senate. That only leaves one final hurdle to turn the bill into law: the governor’s signature.

These elephants are regularly forced to travel and perform, just like Nosey was, and like many elephants in circuses are today. Image credit Chris Wilson, CC BY-SA 3.0.

The New Jersey circus bill is also known as “Nosey’s Law,” named after a long-suffering elephant named Nosey. Nosey was captured in the wild in Africa when she was just a baby and sold into the U.S. circus industry. She was held captive, exploited, and used in traveling shows across the country for over 30 years. In 2017, Nosey was finally confiscated when an animal control officer found her chained up, standing in feces and urine. After being seized by the police, Nosey was transferred to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Upon closer inspection by animal experts and veterinarians, it was discovered that Nosey suffered from several medical conditions and physical disabilities.

Nosey is now living in peace and dignity at the elephant sanctuary, where she will be able to rest and hopefully recover from the trauma of the circus industry. Unfortunately, hundreds of other animals like her are still suffering, being transported from town to town all over the country. Circus animals are forced to endure violent and painful training methods, combined with severe stress and extreme confinement. They suffer from many physical and psychological ailments caused by years of severe neglect and abuse. They deserve the freedom and dignity of retiring to a sanctuary.

Lions and tigers are forced to perform in a circus in Europe. Violent training methods are used to coerce this unnatural behavior out of wild animals. Image credit Travelswiss1, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Across the United States, more than 135 towns and cities have passed legislation to address circus cruelty or have banned animal acts altogether. While New York and Illinois have banned the use of elephants in travelling shows, only Rhode Island and California have banned the use of bullhooks to control performing animals. If the New Jersey circus ban gets signed into law, the state of New Jersey can lead the way and show the rest of the U.S. that it’s time to stand up to circus cruelty.

Please join me in signing this petition asking New Jersey governor Phil Murphy to sign the circus ban into law. Together we can stand up for animals and end circus suffering!

Featured image: A tiger’s face shows her displeasure as she looks into the crowd during a circus performance. Image credit greyloch, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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