NJ Could Become First State to Ban Multiple Exotic Animals in Circus Acts

Nosey’s Law Heads to Governor’s Desk After Passing NJ Assembly

Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) applauds the New Jersey Assembly Monday for passing Nosey’s Law (S1093), which would ban the use of wild and exotic animals for entertainment in traveling animal acts within the state. The vote was 71-3.

Nosey’s Law—named after an elephant kept captive and isolated in traveling shows for more than 30 years—would protect not only elephants, but also camels, big cats, primates, seals and many other exotic animals who are routinely used for entertainment.

“The elephants, tigers, monkeys and other wild animals used in performances are deprived of nearly everything that is important to them,” said Cathy Liss, president of AWI. “They are confined to small cages, denied the opportunity to meet their physical and social needs, and subjected to endless hours in transit. Unlike human entertainers, exotic animals do not choose to join the circus, and should not be forced to endure these abusive conditions.”

By enacting this bill, New Jersey would set a humane precedent by being the first state to ban the use of a wide range of exotic animals in performances. New York and Illinois have banned the use of elephants in traveling shows, while Rhode Island and California have prohibited the use of bullhooks to control performing elephants. Additionally, more than 135 municipalities have passed legislation to address the cruel treatment of circus animals or to ban animal acts entirely, and many other localities are considering similar measures.

“Increasingly, the tide of public opinion is turning against the archaic and outdated practice of using exotic animals in circuses,” said Liss. “New Jersey has the opportunity to establish itself as a leader on this issue, and set a strong example for other states to follow. Thank you to Senator Cruz-Perez and former Senator Lesniak, as well as Assemblymen Mukherji, Zwicker and Holley, for championing this bill.”

Nosey’s Law is now headed to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk. The bill passed the Senate in June. A similar bill passed the legislature last session, but it was pocket vetoed by former governor Chris Christie.

“We urge Governor Murphy to take the last step needed to put New Jersey in the forefront of efforts to end the abuse of exotic animals in traveling shows,” Liss said.

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Media Contact

Margie Fishman, (202) 446-2128, margie@awionline.org