New Jersey takes the lead to become the first US state to ban the use of exotic animals in circuses, thanks to bill sponsors NJ Senator Ray Lesniak and NJ Assemblyman Raj Mukherji. Nosey’s Law passed the NJ Senate last year as S2508, sponsored by Senator Lesniak, to ban circus Elephant acts, and was amended by Assembly (A4386) sponsor Asm. Raj Mukherji to ban the use of all exotic animals in traveling circuses.
Nosey’s Law is named after long suffering circus Elephant Nosey, who was recently placed into the care of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee , temporarily confiscated after decades on the road and whose freedom has been the focus of a bitter lawsuit between authorities and infamous animal handler Hugo Liebel. When authorities seized Nosey she was found tightly chained, confined in her own waste, and without proper shelter.
“Nosey is an elephant who is virtually crippled by arthritis, and who is forced to travel the country to give rides at fairs, flea markets, and other events,” wrote Sen. Lesniak when he first introduced the bill. “The arthritis has likely caused Nosey unnecessary suffering and permanent disability, and reports indicate that Nosey has been denied necessary veterinary care but Nosey’s owners continued to use her in shows. This bill will prohibit such shows in New Jersey.”
The bill was originally scheduled for a vote last week, but was postponed after adverse weather conditions closed all state offices. Nosey’s Law passed the NJ Assembly [66-2] and the Senate [31-0], with overwhelming support for landmark bill; A4386/S2508 could go to the governor’s desk as early as tomorrow.
In the United States, audiences have been turning away from animal circuses in droves; several have closed, including Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, while others have gone animal-free and thrived. Last year, New York City followed San Francisco’s ban on wild animal circus acts; Los Angeles is working on a ban as well. Over 80 US jurisdictions in 31 states have now taken action to restrict wild animal circus acts.
A number of other states are also considering bans on wild animal circus acts, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and New York, and a federal bill – the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA /H.R.1759) – is gaining bipartisan support in the US House, to end the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows nationwide.
Over 40 countries around the world have passed national circus prohibitions, with Italy, Ireland, and Scotland most recently joining the list.
Christina Scaringe, General Counsel for Animal Defenders International (ADI), who has been working with local advocates, Senator Lesniak, and Assemblyman Mukherji on the New Jersey legislation, says: “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.”
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