In the last 5 years, a stirring revolution has appeared seemingly out of nowhere in opposition to for-profit corporations that force wild animals to perform for people. Now, Hawaii is the first state to jump on board with this incredibly movement.
Earlier this week, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture unanimously voted in favor of a set of proposed rule changes that prohibit the import of exotic wild animals for “exhibition or performance.” Animal rights activists are celebrating this news, as Hawaii would be the first state to ban the use of bears, elephants, big cats, and other wild animals for entertainment purposes.
This rule, however, exempts commercial filming of television or movies within government zoos.
“We’re hoping of course that Hawaii will set an example for other states to take the next step,” says Inga Dibson, Hawaii’s senior state director for the Humane Society.
A documentary released in 1994, “Tkye Elephant Outlaw,” reportedly influenced the drafting of this proposal. It follows the story of an escaped elephant that was ultimately shot dead by police in Honolulu.
Currently, 50 municipalities in 22 states and countries have partial or complete bans on animals used as entertainment. Hawaii will be the first state to implement the ban if it goes through.
The new rules may go into effect as early as next year.
Of course, circus advocates aren’t happy to hear about this move. The Circus Fans Associated characterized proponents of the new rules as “animal rights extremists” who make false statements relating to circus animal mistreatment.
What do you think? Do animals belong in captivity or should they be allowed to remain in the wild?