Watching animals perform in the circus may have been an exciting form of entertainment 30 or 40 years ago, however we are now all aware of the mistreatment and abuse that these animals endure to make them perform that way. Despite this well-known information, there are currently no state-wide bans on forcing these animals to perform for entertainment purposes.
However, if Hawaii passes a new movement that was recently approved by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, using exotic animals for entertainment purposes may be a thing of the past.
Hawaii Moves to Ban Exploitation of Exotic Animals
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Hawaii is about to pass a landmark law that will ban the use of wild or exotic animals for entertainment purposes, which would make it the first U.S. state to do so.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture board voted unanimously to approve a change of rules which would label certain exotic animals “Dangerous Wild Animals” and prohibit the import of these animals “for exhibition or performance in public entertainment shows such as circuses, carnivals and state fairs.” However, there will be an exception for government-run zoos and filming in television or movies, which generally have much stricter animal welfare rules than the previously mentioned establishments.
Animals that are included in the list of “Dangerous Wild Animals” are big cats (lions, tigers etc.), elephants, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, bears, hyenas and crocodiles.
According to Inga Gibson, Hawaii senior state director for the Human Society, the ban wasn’t proposed just for the sake of animal welfare, but for the public’s safety as well.
“We’re hoping of course that Hawaii will set an example for other states to take the next step,” Gibson told the Huffington Post.
The decision to propose this ban came soon after the release of the documentary “Tyke Elephant Outlaw”, which focused on the story of a circus elephant that went on a rampage and was killed in the street more than two decades ago.
Tyke was a 20 year old African elephant that escaped from the Neal Blaisdell Center after killing her trainer and mauling a groomer during a performance with Circus International of Honolulu on Aug. 20, 1994. She then charged down the streets of Honolulu until she was shot more than 86 times before she died.
As expected, the ban is being opposed by advocates of fairs and circuses alike. One organization, named the Circus Fans Association of America, called those who proposed it “animal rights extremists” that make false claims of animals being mistreated.
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