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Trailblazing New Jersey bill to ban exotic animal circus acts falls at final hurdle

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is dismayed that the popular New Jersey bill to end the suffering of exotic animals in circuses fell at the last hurdle when Governor Christie effectively pocket-vetoed the bill by not signing it into law.

ADI President Jan Creamer said “Having won the support of the public of New Jersey, the Assembly and the Senate, it is heartbreaking to see this popular measure blocked at the final stage. ADI thanks Assemblyman Raj Mukherji and Senator Lesniak for their continued commitment to the issue; New Jersey remains at the forefront of the movement to end exotic animal circus acts and we begin again with the new legislature.”

Nosey’s Law (S2508/4386), introduced by NJ Senator Ray Lesniak and NJ Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, is named after long suffering circus elephant Nosey, who was recently placed into a sanctuary, temporarily confiscated after decades on the road.

Nosey’s Law first passed the NJ Senate to ban circus elephant acts. ADI worked with bill sponsors and local campaigners, presenting scientific, economic and empirical evidence to advocate for Nosey’s Law to extend to protect all wild and exotic animals from suffering in performances. Seven NJ localities (Bergen County, Clifton, Cumberland County, Hudson County, Jersey City, Passaic County, and Vineland) have already ended these animal acts. After meeting with ADI, Assembly bill sponsor Raj Mukherji agreed to amend the bill to protect all wild animals in circuses, and moved the amended bill through committee; it passed the NJ Assembly and Senate with overwhelming support. New Jersey was poised to become the first US state to ban the use of exotic animals in circuses; sadly, it died on the governor’s desk. The work continues.

US 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 is gathering bipartisan support in the US House – the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA/H.R.1759) – to end the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows nationwide. Wherever you live in the US, please support TEAPSPA:

Over 40 countries around the world have passed national circus prohibitions, with Italy, Ireland, and Scotland most recently joining the list.

Studies and evidence has shown that the health and welfare of animals in traveling circuses is inevitably compromised due to necessarily small, barren, mobile accommodations, restriction of movement, long journeys and excessive periods of time spent in transporters and containers. Training methods are brutal and ADI undercover investigations have documented the violence and abuse occurring in the U.S. and worldwide.

Despite industry claims, animal circuses do nothing to teach people about the animals’ real needs and the way they live, and have no role to play in education or conservation.


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