Hawaii Could Be First US State to Ban Wild Animals in Circuses
Hawaii may become the first state in the US to ban wild animals in circuses, with the animals including bears, elephants, wild cats, primates, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, hyenas, and crocodiles.
After a meeting held with the board of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, a proposed change was unanimously approved that would redefine what “dangerous wild animals” meant, and would ban these animals in the “exhibition or performance in public entertainment shows such as circuses, carnivals and state fairs.”
The proposed changes were initiated by the Humane Society of the United States, who had been working to get this ruling passed over a year ago by petitioning the Department of Agriculture, as they have the power to approve permits for wild animals.
The Hawaii senior state director for the Humane Society, Inga Gibson, stated the ban is a “long time coming” since the issue is two-fold as it is not only about the treatment of animals, but also about public safety, wild animals kept in captivity can target their trainers and crowds or audiences.
So far, 50 municipalities in the United States have either passed partial or full bans, but so far there have been no state-wide bans. Gibson said:
“We’re hoping of course that Hawaii will set an example for other states to take the next step.”
The next step for the ruling to go forward is a statewide public hearing, which will reportedly happen after the holidays in 2016. While the proposed ruling would result in significant changes for wild animals in the entertainment industry, as of now, it does not include marine animals or animals used in commercial filming. Whether they will be added or not will be clearer during the public hearings.
Photo Credit: www.explorationhawaii.com