The issue of using wild animals, particularly elephants, in circuses has been a hot topic recently. Thanks to the tireless efforts of animal activists, the general public has become aware of the tremendous animal cruelty involved in circuses. Not only are wild animals obtained through suspect manner, but once held in captivity by circuses, they endure endless torment, are kept in box-like enclosures, and are only allowed out when performing or practicing “tricks” under threat of bullhooks, whips, and other physical abuse.
Using wild animals in circuses is not just dangerous for animals, the practice poses serious risks to people as well. Wild animals cannot be domesticated within their lifetime, and they remain inherently wild. Enduring such high degrees of stress and abuse, they often lash out, and a number have even escaped into the public, where they tragically succumb to the fate of being shot and killed.
Aware of the serious issues surrounding using wild animals in circuses, many countries have banned the use of wild animals in circuses. Here in the U.S., cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Santa Fe have banned the use of wild animals for live entertainment, and Illinois and New York became the first states to ban the use of elephants in circuses.
Similar legislation was introduced in New Jersey that called for the ban of using all wild animals in circuses, and the bill passed the New Jersey legislature by votes of 66-2-2 in the General Assembly and by 31-0 in the State Senate. However, on his last day in office, former governor Chris Christie decided to pocket veto the bill, by not signing it into law, stopping it from going into effect.
A revised version of the bill is now set to be presented to New Jersey’s new governor, Phil Murphy, and a petition has been set up on Care2 to encourage Gov. Murphy to sign the bill and make the Garden State more humane. Please take a moment to sign the petition here.
Some people are still unaware of the animal cruelty involved in circuses and other live acts, so make sure you share this with your network to increase support for captive wild animals!
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