Animals in Circuses and Exhibitions: Legislative Update “Nosey’s Law” Passes in New Jersey

by Mary Lou Kelly, Government Relations and Communications Consultant

s we wrap up state legislative sessions in 2018, the animal exhibitor industry was unfortunately hit with bad news on October 29, when the New Jersey state legisla- ture passed Senate Bill 1093 — a bill to prohibit the use of wild or exotic animals in traveling animal acts. The bill was referred to as ”Nosey’s Law,” named after a circus elephant seized from her owners in 2017. National animal rights organizations who promoted the bill have introduced similar legislation in other states in past years, but New Jersey is the first state to pass such broad-reaching legislation (New York and Rhode Island have elephant-specific bans). As of press time, the bill is await- ing the signature of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. Despite the efforts of OABA and other pro-animal groups to fight this bill, Nosey’s Law became the rallying cry for ani- mal rights activists across the country. Groups called Action for Nosey Now and Save Nosey Now promoted this legislation across social media, and the bill also had the support of hard- line national animal rights groups, including Animal Defenders International, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, The Elephant Sanctuary, and the Humane Society of the United States. The final version of the bill states that no person shall use a wild or exotic animal in a traveling animal act. For purposes of this legislation, traveling animal acts are defined as any performance which requires an animal to be trans- ported to or from the location of a performance in a mobile or traveling housing facility. The bill language states that per- formances include “any animal act, carnival, circus, display, exhibition, exposition, fair, parade, petting zoo, presentation, public showing, race, ride, trade show, or similar undertaking in which animals perform tricks, give rides, or participate as accompaniments for the entertainment, amusement, or benefit of a live audience.”

“Wild or exotic animals” are defined as any non-domesticat- ed species of mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian; including:  Camels  Wolves, Coyotes, and other canids or hybrids (excluding domestic dogs)

 Crocodiles and Alligators  Elephants  Lions, Tigers, and other big cats  Kangaroos, Koalas and other marsupials  Non-human primates  Rhinos  Zebras and other perissodactyla (excluding domestic horses, ponies, donkeys, or mules)

 Seals and Sea Lions  Bears

Certain animal facilities are exempted from this legislation. These include animal exhibits at a non-mobile, permanent institution or a facility licensed by USDA and accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the American Sanctuary Association, or a similar organization as determined by the NJ Division of Wildlife. Outreach programs for educational or conservation purposes (and affiliated with a non-mobile facility as outlined above and/or an institute of higher education or government entity) are also exempted from this bill. When and if the legislation is signed into law, it will take effect immediately. However, any traveling acts visiting large cities in New Jersey will have until June 30, 2019 to comply. 

Mary Lou Kelly 978-764-5138

Puppy Roll Faribault, MN DECEMBER 2018 | OABA ShowTime Magazine  33

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