N.J. could soon be first state to ban ‘exotic animals.’

Read the original article by Matt Arco and Susan K. Livio at nj.com here.

No more elephants at traveling circuses in New Jersey? It might soon be law.

Gov. Phil Murphy could make New Jersey the first state to ban the use of wild or exotic animals in traveling animal acts.

Lawmakers have sent the Democratic governor legislation called “Nosey’s Law,” named after a 35-year-old African elephant used in traveling circuses across the country that authorities say was abused and neglected by its owner.

The ban would apply to carnivals, circuses, fairs, parades, petting zoos and similar live events, according to the bill.

“These are wild, endangered animals, and they should be cared for according to the highest ethical standards to ensure the survival of their species,” Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, D-Hudson, said in a statement.

“We cannot allow ill-equipped handlers of traveling animal acts to mistreat and exploit endangered species,” he said.

Other states, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Hawaii and New York, are considering similar bans, Mukherji said.

There were no loud roars of disapproval when the bill came up in both chambers of the Demcoratic-controlled New Jersey Legislature on Monday. It cleared the state Senate by a 36-0 vote and the state Assembly 71-3 with three abstentions.

It’s now up to Murphy to either sign or veto it.

The proposal doesn’t define exotic animals but would recommend state regulators rely on the state Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act for guidance.

The state defines exotic animals as “any species of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, mollusk, or crustacean that is not indigenous to New Jersey as determined by the Fish and Game Council.”

Lawmakers sent a similar proposal — sponsored by now-retired state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union — to former Gov. Chris Christie‘s desk just before the Republican left office on Jan. 16.

Christie, however, did not sign it into law.

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