Hawaii Moves To Ban Wild Performing Animals

Hawaii likely will become the first U.S. state to ban the use of elephants, bears and other exotic wild animals for entertainment purposes.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture board on Tuesday unanimously approved a proposed rules change that would define “dangerous wild animals” and prohibit the import of such animals “for exhibition or performance in public entertainment shows such as circuses, carnivals and state fairs.” The rules make exceptions for commercial filming in television or movies and in government zoos.

Animals listed in the proposal include big cats, primates, elephants, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, bears, hyenas and crocodiles.

The move comes just three days after “Tyke Elephant Outlaw,” a documentary about a circus elephant that went on a deadly rampage in Honolulu two decades ago, made its Hawaii premiere.

Tyke, a 20-year-old female African circus elephant, escaped from the Neal Blaisdell Center after trampling a groomer and killing her trainer during a performance with Honolulu’s Circus International on Aug. 20, 1994. She charged down Honolulu streets before being gunned down by police.

“You could see blood and bullet holes,” Tyler Ralston, a witness, recalled in an interview with The Huffington Post.

In October 2014, the Humane Society of the United States and several other organizations petitioned the state agriculture department to add dangerous wild animals to its list of prohibited species.

Inga Gibson, Hawaii senior state director for the Humane Society, told HuffPost the issue is not only one of animal welfare, but also public health and safety. And in Hawaii — a state well known for its spirit of aloha and values of respect for the environment — the ban is a “long time coming,” she said.

“We’re hoping of course that Hawaii will set an —> Read More