New Jersey becomes first state to ban use of wild, exotic animals in circuses

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed legislation Friday that made his state the first in the nation to ban the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling acts.

The legislation, also known as “Nosey’s Law,” is named after a 36-year-old African elephant with arthritis that was forced to travel across the country, including New Jersey, for traveling circus acts while also suffering abuse, the governor’s office said in a press release

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“I am proud to sign ‘Nosey’s Law’ and ensure that New Jersey will not allow wild and exotic animals to be exploited and cruelly treated within our state,” Murphy said in a statement.

“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,” he continued.

Brian R. Hackett, the New Jersey state director for the Humane Society of the United States, celebrated the news.

“New Jersey is the first state to protect wild animals from the abuses inherent in traveling shows,” Hackett said in a statement included in the office's release. 

“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," he added.

Illinois and New York also have laws that ban the use of elephants in traveling or entertainment acts, but Nosey’s Law makes New Jersey the first state to outlaw the use of all wild and exotic animals in traveling acts.