N.J. enacts nation’s 1st elephant ban

Read the original article by Matt Arco at nj.com here.

New Jersey is now the first state to outlaw wild and exotic animals in traveling acts such as circuses and fairs after Gov. Phil Murphy signed “Nosey’s Law” on Friday.

The legislation, named after a 36-year-old African elephant used in traveling circuses across the country that animal rights groups say was abused and neglected by its owner, had broad bi-partisan support in the Legislature.

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

“New Jersey is the first state to protect wild animals from the abuses inherent in traveling shows,” Brian Hackett, the New Jersey State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement.

Other states, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Hawaii and New York, are considering similar bans, according to one of the bill’s sponsors.

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

The bill also got big support in the Legislature last year, but Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, pocket-vetoed it before he left office in January.

“This law would not have been possible without the years of hard work and advocacy by Sen. Ray Lesniak, whose legacy on issues of animal rights is second to none,” he said. “These animals belong in their natural habitats or in wildlife sanctuaries, not in performances where their safety and the safety of others is at risk.”

Lesniak, D-Union, is a former state senator who, before leaving office, challenged Murphy in the Democratic primary for governor.

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.”

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