TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – A proposal approved this week in a New Jersey Senate committee could change what happens when the circus comes to town.
“We will be the first state in the nation to ban elephants in circuses,” Union County Democrat Raymond Lesniak told KYW Newsradio, “particularly because they are subject to the most cruel circumstances of any elephants.”
Supporters of the outright ban point to one elephant in particular, Nosey, that’s become almost a poster child for the problem. Her owner’s been cited time and again for animal cruelty around the country, yet she’s still dragged out to carry kids and perform on demand.
Ringling Brothers is phasing out elephants from their shows, they say, for financial reasons. Lesniak says his bill looks solely at the conditions many of these elephants live with daily.
“They’re huge animals. They’re kept in tight quarters,” he said. “These bull hooks that are needed to move them around are very harmful to them.”
Bull hooks are banned in two states, Rhode Island and California.
The bill now goes to the full senate for consideration. No action’s been taken in the Assembly and there’s no word on where Governor Chris Christie comes down on the proposal.
Bottom line: supporters of the proposed pachyderm prohibition have a lot of work to do.