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World Animal Protection Celebrates California’s Passing of SB 313, Banning the Use of Wild Animals in Circuses



Governor Newsom signs bills that will to fight animal cruelty and promote animal welfare

This past weekend, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed groundbreaking SB 313 into law, a bill that bans the use of elephants, bears, and other wild animals in circuses throughout the state. World Animal Protection, a global nonprofit organization working towards a world where animals live free from suffering, celebrates and congratulates this accomplishment by the legislature, including Senator Ben Hueso who introduced and championed the legislation. The state of California follows Hawaii and New Jersey in taking a stand to protect wild animals.

“Animals used in circuses endure immense cruelty for minutes of entertainment. Elephants don’t wear tutus or stand on their heads. Bears don’t ride bicycles or walk tightropes. Tigers don’t naturally jump through rings of fire.” said Julie Cappiello, Wildlife Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection US. “This is a great step to protect wild animals and it is our hope that other states will follow the example.”

For elephants to be trained for circus tricks, they are torn from their mothers’ sides at an early age and inflicted with pain. The babies have ropes tied around their legs and they are forced into unnatural positions all while being painfully jabbed with bullhooks or other sharp instruments. During performances elephant trainers carry bullhooks, often concealed from the public’s eye but visible to the elephants, to remind the animals of human dominance.

With an instinctual fear of fire, big cats are trained through abusive methods to jump through flaming rings. When being transported throughout the country, tigers are kept in cages barely larger than the length of their bodies.

“Circuses don’t need animals to be profitable. Wild animals have no place on trapeze wires or jumping through flames.” Cappiello explained. “Human performers, like those in Circus Vargas, Circus Smirkus, and Cirque du Soleil are more thrilling and entertaining than any circus with animals. Circuses need to evolve and stop animal cruelty or end up like now-shuttered Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.”

Newsom also signed four other bills into law to expand animal welfare in the state.

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