Yesterday, Hawaii Governor Ige signed a proposal to amend Chapter 4-71, Hawaii Administrative Rules, entitled “Plant and Non-Domestic Animal Quarantine Non-Domestic Animal Import Rules,” to prohibit the importation of dangerous wild animals - including tigers, lions, bears, primates, elephants and crocodiles - for performances in circuses, carnivals, and other public exhibitions. The proposal was previously approved in September by the Executive Board of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture with a vote of 6-3 and was in response to a legal petition filed by the Humane Society of the United States in 2014.
Just one week ago, on December 14, New Jersey made history by becoming the first state in the country to ban the use of numerous wild animal species, including elephants, tigers, lions, bears and primates, in circuses and traveling shows.
Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, released the following statement:
“These reforms in Hawaii and New Jersey have been a long time coming. Wild animals used in traveling shows are subjected to prolonged periods of extreme confinement in unventilated trucks and trailers as they are hauled from venue to venue for months at a time. When they are not performing, elephants are chained or confined to small pens and big cats are kept in transport cages barely bigger than the animals themselves. The animals are routinely deprived of adequate exercise, veterinary care, or even regular food and water. There is simply no need to involve wild animals in any form of live entertainment. Thank you to Hawaii Governor Ige and New Jersey Governor Murphy for ending the year with these sweeping reforms.”
Hawaiian Humane Society, Animal Rights Hawai'i and many other groups and advocates in the state also worked for years to achieve this groundbreaking progress for animals.
Five states and more than 145 other localities in 37 states have enacted restrictions regarding the use of wild animals in circuses and other traveling shows as a result of growing public awareness of the mistreatment these animals endure. In 2015, Hawaii Governor David Ige pledged to discontinue the issuance of permits to ship exotic animals across the Pacific Ocean simply to be used for outdated and inhumane exhibitions.