Success! New Jersey Just Became the First State to Ban Wild Animals in Circuses

New Jersey has just made history by becoming the first state in the nation to ban wild and exotic animals in circuses with the passage of Nosey’s Law, thanks in part to Care2′s petition New Jersey: Ban the Use of Exotic Animals in the Circus that got nearly 140,000 signatures.

Nosey’s Law was first introduced two years ago by former Senator Raymond Lesniak over concerns about the welfare of an African elephant named Nosey who had suffered decades of abuse at the hands of her owner, Hugo Liebel who’s had her since the 1980s.

Over the years, people have continued to raise serious concerns about her wellbeing, while Liebel racked up hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act. In addition to being forced to perform demeaning tricks and give rides, which put the public at risk, Nosey has been beaten, chained so tightly she couldn’t move, confined to a trailer, starved and denied veterinary care for chronic health problems, among many other forms of abuse.

While lawmakers passed her namesake bill, it was sadly pocket vetoed by former Governor Chris Christie in January. However, they didn’t give up, and although it was first intended to ban elephant acts, the bill was later expanded by Assembly sponsor Raj Mukherji to include other wild and exotic animals used in traveling shows.

It was passed again by a landslide earlier this fall, and now its supporters are celebrating a historic victory after Governor Phil Murphy signed it into law.

“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,” said Governor Murphy. “This law would not have been possible without the years of hard work and advocacy by Senator Ray Lesniak, whose legacy on issues of animal rights is second to none. 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.”

While wild animals have been used as performers in circuses for decades, we now know so much more about what they need to be physically and psychologically healthy and there’s no shortage of evidence showing that circuses can never come close to meeting those needs, and the blatant abuse they continue to experience is inexcusable.

“Having documented the inherent suffering of wild animals in circuses for many years, we are delighted Governor Murphy has signed this historic law. We hope other states will follow New Jersey’s lead to protect animals and the public across the United States,” said Animal Defenders International’s President Jan Creamer

Thankfully public attitudes have continued to change for the better and we’ve continued to celebrate victories ranging from the closure of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus to bans on their use throughout cities in the U.S., including P.T. Barnum’s home city of Bridgeport, Conn., and more spreading through countries across around the world.

While more states are considering similar legislation, it’s also hoped that a nationwide ban will be enacted with the passage of the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act. It was introduced years ago and has garnered widespread support from both the public and lawmakers, but it has yet to be passed.

As for Nosey, she has thankfully since been confiscated from Liebel and is now living at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee where she’s experiencing an entirely new life while the court decides her fate.

Hopefully she’ll continue to thrive there, and the awareness her story has helped raised about the suffering of animals in entertainment will continue to change more hearts and minds about their use as performers, and that federal ban will become a reality.

Photo credit: Getty Images

120 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y18 days ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y18 days ago

thanks

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John J
John J18 days ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J18 days ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J19 days ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J19 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Sonia M

Good news.Petition signed,thanks for sharing

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Andrei K

awesome!

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Tanya W
Tanya W28 days ago

Thank you for sharing. Petition signed 🐯🦁

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Tanya W
Tanya W28 days ago

How wonderful 🐘🐘🐘

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