Hawaii Gives Heave Ho to Circus Animal Shows

At the end of 2018, Hawaii became just the second state (after New Jersey) to prohibit the use of exotic animals in traveling shows. On December 21, Governor David Ige signed a new rule, which was previously approved by the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, citing concerns about public safety and health.

Exotic animals exploited by circuses are subjected to nonstop travel in cramped crates, forced to perform unnatural tricks in front of noisy crowds, and trained using abusive methods. A growing list of jurisdictions have taken steps to end this abuse. Bullhooks have been banned in California and Rhode Island, Illinois and New York have banned the use of elephants in traveling shows, and nearly 150 local ordinances have enacted some version of these prohibitions. In Michigan, Senator Bruce Tarr (R-1st Essex and Middlesex) and Representative Lori Ehrlich (D-8th Essex) recently reintroduced a bill to prohibit the use of elephants, big cats, primates, and bears in traveling shows in that state.