Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Hawaii becomes second US state to ban wild animal circus acts!

Posted: 28 December 2018. Updated: 28 December 2018

On Friday, December 21, Hawaii became the second US state to ban wild animal circus acts when Governor David Ige signed into law rule amendments to ban the import of elephants, tigers, bears, and other “dangerous” wild animals for circus and carnival performances and exhibitions. It follows adoption of the legislation by the Small Business Regulatory Review Board earlier in the month, and makes good on Governor Ige’s 2015 promise to end these cruel and dangerous acts.

ADI submitted written testimony at recent meetings, 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.

Tyke 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 Governor Ige and to the people of Hawaii for honoring Tyke – it’s now time to end circus animal suffering everywhere,” noted Christina Scaringe, ADI General Counsel.

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.

The Hawaii ban comes just a week after New Jersey became the first US state to introduce a ban on wild animal circus acts. A number of states have similar measures under consideration, including Massachusetts, 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. 88 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. We hope that Hawaii’s decision to make circus suffering history will inspire 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 |

© Animal Defenders International 2019