TODAY, the NJ state Assembly votes on Nosey's Law (A4386/S2508) – a bill to ban exotic animal circus acts statewide. Nosey's Law passed the NJ Senate last year as S2508 (sponsored by Senator Lesniak), to ban circus elephant acts, and has since been 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 a sanctuary, temporarily confiscated after decades on the road. The bill was originally scheduled for a vote last week, but was cancelled when adverse weather conditions closed all state offices. If passed today, A4386/S2508 will move straight to the NJ Senate for a vote to concur on the amendment and, if all goes well, it 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, including Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, have closed, 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, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and New York, are currently considering bans on wild animals in circuses, 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: "The overwhelming evidence shows wild animals suffer in traveling circuses. Nosey's Law, and its amendment, recognizes this; we urge NJ's Assembly, Senate, and Governor Christie to take this historic step towards ending the abuse of animals for entertainment. There is enormous public support for this law, and 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."