Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Hawaii takes huge step toward banning wild animal circus acts

Posted: 27 September 2018. Updated: 28 December 2018

Animal Defenders International (ADI) applauds yesterday’s vote by the Hawaii Board of Agriculture to adopt rule amendments to ban the import of certain “dangerous” wild animals, including elephants, tigers, and bears, for circus and carnival performances and exhibitions.

The legislation next goes to the Small Business Regulatory Review Board (SBRRB), then to Governor Ige for signature.

ADI welcomes and supports this effort, which if passed would make good on Governor Ige’s 2015 promise to end these cruel and dangerous acts and would see Hawaii become the first state in the US with a statewide ban. ADI submitted written testimony at the meeting, along with local advocates who’ve worked for years – some since personally witnessing the death of circus elephant Tyke in 1994 – to end circus animal cruelty in Hawaii.

This rule would protect animals and people, to prevent another terrible tragedy like Tyke, who was killed on the streets of Honolulu, having been shot at least 87 times after escaping the circus and fatally injuring her trainer. It was a terrible death, which Hawaiians should never have had to witness and which Tyke should never have had to suffer.

“Some stories really tear at your heart and, actually, Tyke’s story is emblematic of what circus animals suffer every day, to this day. Thanks to the people of Hawaii for honoring Tyke – it’s time to end circus animal suffering everywhere with this action,” noted Christina Scaringe, ADI General Counsel.

Tyler Ralston, longtime Hawaii advocate and witness to Tyke’s death, added, “Yesterday, the Hawaii State Board of Agriculture took a large step by voting to ban the importation of the most commonly exploited large dangerous animals used in live entertainment. Hawaii’s people want this, and the Board listened and responded favorably. Now is the time to let Governor Ige know that he is making the right decision and help push this over the finish line.”

Studies and evidence show that the health and welfare of animals in traveling circuses is inevitably compromised due to necessarily small, barren, mobile accommodations, restricted movement, long journeys, and excessive periods of time spent in transporters and containers. Training methods are brutal - ADI undercover investigations have documented systemic violence and abuse in the US and worldwide.

A number of states have similar measures under consideration, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania; meanwhile a federal bill to end the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows nationwide – the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA/H.R.1759) – is gaining bipartisan support in the US House. Around the world, 45 countries have passed national prohibitions on the use of wild and/or exotic animals – and in some cases all animals – in circuses.

American audiences are turning away from animal circuses in droves; several circuses have closed, while others have gone animal-free and thrived. 87 jurisdictions in 31 states have taken action to restrict the use of wild animals in traveling circuses, including New York City and San Francisco, which have banned wild animal circus acts.

ADI President Jan Creamer said, “The days of animals suffering in traveling circuses are numbered. Given its own tragic circus past, we hope Hawaii will take the lead to make circus suffering history, inspiring other US states to protect people and animals when the circus comes to town.”

Media Contacts:

US: Lesley McCave, ADI Communications Director | (323) 935-2234 or (323) 804-9920 |

UK: Devon Prosser, Press Officer | 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548 |

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