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California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law The Circus Cruelty Prevention Act on Friday. The bill bans exotic animals in circuses state-wide. California is the third state in the nation with such a ban, joining Hawaii and New Jersey.

The law applies to exotic animals, including elephants, monkeys, lions, bears and tigers. The bill does not include dogs or cats, and does not apply to rodeos. In signing the bill, Governor Newsom said, “We are making a statement to the world that beautiful wild animals like bears and tigers have no place on trapeze wires or jumping through flames. Just YouTube the videos showing the cruel way these animals – often stripped from their mothers as babies – are trained to do dangerous tricks.”

President of In Defense of Animals Marilyn Kroplick said of the bill passage, ““This is a historic moment for the animal protection movement. There is no doubt that animals suffer greatly in circuses. The passing of this act sends a clear message that this type of cruel entertainment is no longer acceptable to Californians.”

Animals in circuses often receive terrible treatment. Their living conditions are appalling and the methods used to train them are often inhumane. In inhumane conditions, circus animals often become erratic or aggressive. The animals are unable to live their lives naturally, unable to act upon their instincts or behave as they would in the wild. Their physical and mental health also suffer, especially from depression and zoochosis.

Circus acts have become less popular in the past decade. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey closed in 2017.  In California this year, two circuses were slated to perform. The bill includes a $25,000 a day fine for violating the law.

The United Kingdom banned animals in circuses earlier this year. Read more about New Jersey’s circus ban in One Green Planet.

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