New Jersey becomes first state to ban the use of wild animals in traveling Circus acts

"Today, I am proud to sign a law that will ensure that New Jersey will not allow wild and exotic animals to be exploited and cruelly treated within our state."

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Image Credit: Amy Newman

Becoming the first state to pass such a law, New Jersey governor outlaws the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling animal acts. “Nosey’s Law” protects wild, and in some cases, endangered animals from the abuses inherent in traveling shows.

Nosey, a 36-year-old African elephant, was the namesake of the law. With crippling arthritis, Nosey was “forced to travel around the country, including to New Jersey, for traveling circus acts and suffered abuse,” a press release stated.

“These are wild, endangered animals, and they should be cared for according to the highest ethical standards to ensure the survival of their species,” Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, sponsor of the bill said. “We cannot allow ill-equipped handlers of traveling animal acts to mistreat and exploit endangered species.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the bill, which was sponsored by Senator Nilsa Cruz Perez and Assemblymen Jamel Holley, Andrew Zwicker and Raj Mukherji and supported by animal welfare groups including the Humane Society, into law to end the acts of mistreatment and exploitation.

“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,” Governor Murphy said. “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.”

Nosey’s Law passed the legislature “by a significant margin” with just three members opposing the bill, according to a press release.

“New Jersey is the first state to protect wild animals from the abuses inherent in traveling shows,” Brian R. Hackett, the New Jersey State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, said. “For too long, wild animals used in circuses have endured cruel training, constant confinement, and deprivation of all that is natural to them. We are grateful that Governor Murphy is signing Nosey’s Law to close the curtain on this type of cruelty in our state.”

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