Bears, elephants, tigers and all other wild animals used in circuses are not willing performers. They are forced to perform tricks or they will suffer extreme punishment. These magnificent animals deserve better. Animal abuse is not entertainment.
New Jersey is the first state to officially ban wild animals in circuses and traveling shows. The “Nosey’s Law” was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy. Animal welfare concerns and public safety were both factors in passing the new law. The law was named to honor an arthritic elephant named Nosey, that was finally rescued from a circus and brought to a sanctuary.
The Humane Society Of The United States states, “To date, four states and close to 150 localities across 37 states have passed laws governing the use of wild animals in circuses and traveling shows and many more are in the process of considering legislation. In 2016, California and Rhode Island banned bullhooks, a cruel elephant training tool. In 2017, Illinois and New York banned the use of elephants in traveling shows. In Hawaii, we await the signature of Gov. David Ige on a regulation enacted by the board of agriculture to ban dangerous wild animals, including tigers, lions, bears, primates, elephants and crocodiles, from being brought into the state to perform in circuses, carnivals and other public exhibitions.”
Circuses attempt to mask the abuse and neglect of the animals with the pinstriped tents and extreme tricks. However, don’t people wonder how they manage to get a tiger to jump through fire rings?! The animals are kept in small cages, barely larger than the animal. They are deprived of food, socializing, and even vet care, with the goal to get to the next show location as quick as possible. The only time they are released is to perform, where they are poked and prodded – living in constant fear. This is just the beginning of the worldwide movement to ban wild animals in circuses.
“Bolivia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, El Salvador, the Netherlands and India are among at least 45 countries that have passed laws banning the use of wild animals in circuses. The United Kingdom has pledged to ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses by 2020.”
Wild animals are not for our entertainment and only perform the ridiculous tasks because they are beaten into submission. “Elephants have no desire to balance on their front legs, tigers don’t freely leap through fiery hoops and bears have no interest in riding bicycles.”
Hopefully, all the other states and countries will follow suit. This is a victory for wild animals and a cause to celebrate what is to come.
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.