Breaking! Hawaii Votes To Ban Wild Animals In Traveling Circuses & Carnivals; New Regulation Pending Governor David Ige’s Signature

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Yesterday, the Executive Board of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture approved a measure to ban wild animals, including tigers, lions, bears, primates, elephants and crocodiles, from being brought into Hawaii for performances in circuses, carnivals, and other public exhibitions.

The proposal passed 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.

“Wild animals used for entertainment are trained with pain and the fear of punishment, caged and chained in trucks and trailers, forced to endure months of grueling travel and bullied to perform silly tricks,” Keith Dane, Hawaii policy adviser for the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement. “They pose a public health and safety risk as well as risks to Hawaii’s natural resources. There is simply no need to involve wild animals in any form of live entertainment.”

The use of animals used for so-called entertainment purposes has been a controversial topic since 1994, after an elephant named Tyke killed its trainer and ran through the streets of Honolulu. Tyke was subsequently shot 84 times before he succumbed to his injuries and died.

Four 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David Ige pledged to discontinue the issuance of permits to ship exotic animals across the Pacific Ocean to be used for outdated and inhumane exhibitions.

This regulation needs to go to the Governor for final approval. The ban will become effective 10 days following the Governor’s signature.

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