Senate approved bill to prevent cruelty to circus elephants

Legislation sponsored by Senator Raymond Lesniak that would help prevent the abusive treatment of circus animals – specifically, the cruel and inhumane treatment of an African elephant at fairs and circuses in New Jersey – was approved by the Senate today.

“This overwhelming majority vote in favor of elephant protection is a sign of our times,” said PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews in response to the vote. “Today’s public doesn’t want to see elephants chained, beaten, and forced to perform tricks in traveling circuses. Thanks to Sen. Lesniak’s wonderful bill, PETA and compassionate people everywhere can look forward to a kinder future for elephants in the Garden State.”

Senator Raymond J. Lesniak aims to prevent hunger among NJ residents

Senator Raymond J. Lesniak aims to prevent hunger among NJ residents

This bill, S-2508, known as “Nosey’s Law,” would prohibit the use of elephants in traveling animal acts, defined  as any performance which requires an animal to be transported to or from the location of the performance in a mobile or traveling housing facility.

Nosey is an elephant who is virtually crippled by arthritis, and who is forced to travel the country to give rides at fairs, flea markets, and other events.

The arthritis has likely caused Nosey unnecessary suffering and permanent disability, and reports indicate that Nosey has been denied necessary veterinary care.

“The conditions for Nosey and other elephants in similar circumstances is cruel and inhumane,” said Lesniak. “These animals are not here to be used as entertainment for humans. And using an injured elephant like Nosey to give rides to children and others can actually be dangerous. If the animal should stumble or collapse due to her fragile condition any rider could be injured.”

Nosey’s owners have been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for nearly 200 violations of the Animal Cruelty Act, including chaining the animal so tightly she couldn’t move and denying her needed veterinary care.

It has also been alleged that Nosey has been tortured with electric shock, bull hooks, sledgehammers, shovels and starvation.

“The pain and suffering inflicted on this or any animal should be ended. Nosey deserves to spend her remaining years in peace and in the company of other elephants,” said Lesniak. “Our state’s exotic animal regulations are intended to prevent exactly this kind of abuse and the federal Animal Welfare Act was amended to include animals used in exhibition to prevent this sort of mistreatment,”

Any person who violates this bill would be subject to the penalties provided in the “The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act” (the Act). This would include civil administrative penalties, civil penalties, and injunctive relief, but not the criminal penalties set forth in the Act.

It was approved with a vote of 32 – 5.

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