Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Could Hawaii be first state to end wild animal circuses?

Posted: 27 October 2015. Updated: 4 April 2017


One of the most notorious incidents in circus history occurred in Hawaii when elephant Tyke escaped and died in a hail of bullets (watch the trailer). Now Hawaii could be the first US state to end the use of wild animals in circuses.

ADI has been working alongside the Hawaiian Humane Society, HSUS, and local advocates to secure a state ban – meeting with legislators, crafting language, and submitting evidence. HB 1012, which would prohibit the use of wild animals in circuses passed the Consumer, Protection and Commerce Committee, but timed out in Judiciary. The bill remains active and we can pick up working on it in 2016.

In the mean time, Hawaii Governor David Ige has pledged to stop issuing import permits for entertainment acts involving wild animals! ADI urges the Governor and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to cement this pledge with rulemaking action to carry the policy beyond his administration.

UPDATE: Comments needed to support import ban of wild animals for entertainment.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) applauds Hawaii Governor David Ige’s pledge to end wild animal act imports, and thanks the Hawaii Board of Agriculture for approving a proposed rule change to prohibit the import of certain “dangerous wild animal” (elephant, tiger, and bear) acts. This week Governor Ige advanced the proposal forward by signing the notice for public hearings scheduled around the islands May 1-May 5, welcoming public comments.

Take Action!

ADI urges our Hawaii supporters to attend hearings in full support. Comments can also be made by emailing Please include the word “testimony” and the subject matter when submitting testimony by e-mail.

Send comments to:

Plant Quarantine Branch c/o Department of Agriculture at 1849 Auiki Street, Honolulu, HI 96819 or via FAX at (808) 832-0584 or via e-mail at

Address to: Chairman Scott Enright and Hawaii Board of Agriculture Members
Email address: (Please include the word “testimony” and the subject matter following the address line when submitting testimony by e-mail.) Testimony will be accepted up to the close of the last public hearing on May 5 at 7:00pm.

Sample email:

“SUBJECT: Testimony in support of prohibiting the importation of wild animals for entertainment
Dear Chairman Scott Enright and Hawaii Board of Agriculture Members,
I urge you to support the petition to prohibit the importation of wild animals for entertainment.

Overwhelming evidence has shown that animals in traveling circuses endure confinement, physical and social deprivation, long, grueling journeys, brutal control methods and physical violence. Keeping elephants in chains, confining wild animals like lions and tigers in small cages, and forcing them to perform unnatural tricks for the sole purpose of human amusement should not be allowed in Hawaii.

Wild animals living in a state of severe stress, confinement, and abuse are at high risk of lashing out or trying to escape. Circus workers and members of the public, including children, have been killed and maimed by circus animals.

With the 23 year anniversary of the tragic death of Tyke the elephant in Hawaii, please use this opportunity to set that terrible wrong, right by passing this important animal protection and public safety petition.

In Hawaii, please consider attending one of the following public hearings:

May 01, 2017, 5:00pm -7:00pm Conference Room, Department of Agriculture 1849 Auiki Street Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

May 02, 2017, 5:00pm -7:00pm Conference Room, Department of Agriculture 4398A Pua Loke Street Lihue, Hawaii 96766

May 03, 2017, 5:00pm -7:00pm Conference Room, Department of Agriculture 635 Mua Street Kahului, HI 96732

May 04, 2017, 5:00pm -7:00pm Hilo State Office Building #101 75 Aupuni Street Hilo, Hawaii 96720

May 05, 2017, 5:00pm -7:00pm West Hawaii Civic Center 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740

If you plan to present oral testimony at the public hearing, you are asked to register with staff prior to the convening of the hearing. If possible, submit 5 written copies of the testimony to staff prior to the meeting.

RSVP to ADI at or 323-935-2234.

© Animal Defenders International 2018