Governor Phil Murphy

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Governor Murphy Signs “Nosey’s Law,” Outlawing the Use of Wild and Exotic Animals in Traveling Animal Acts


TRENTON - Governor Phil Murphy today signed “Nosey’s Law,” making it illegal to use wild and exotic animals in traveling animal acts. Nosey, the namesake of the law, is a 36-year-old African elephant with crippling arthritis that was forced to travel around the country, including to New Jersey, for traveling circus acts and suffered abuse.

“I am proud to sign ‘Nosey’s Law’ and ensure that New Jersey will not allow wild and exotic animals to be exploited and cruelly treated within our state,” said Governor Murphy. “This law would not have been possible without the years of hard work and advocacy by Senator Ray Lesniak, whose legacy on issues of animal rights is second to none. These animals belong in their natural habitats or in wildlife sanctuaries, not in performances where their safety and the safety of others is at risk.” 

Nosey’s Law passed the Legislature by a significant margin, with only three members from either chamber opposing the measure. It passed the Legislature overwhelmingly last session but was pocket vetoed by Governor Christie.

Sponsors of the bill include Senator Nilsa Cruz Perez and Assemblymen Raj Mukherji, Jamel Holley, and Andrew Zwicker.

“These beautiful creatures suffer from routine abuse and mistreatment by their handlers for the sake of entertainment,” said Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez. “This by no means justifies the emotional and physical abuse animals like Nosey are forced to endure. Nosey is now safe in an animal sanctuary, but the law protects other animals from being abused like she was. Today, New Jersey is taking a stand for animal rights and I hope that other states will follow our example so that this sort of abuse can be eliminated everywhere in the country."

“These are wild, endangered animals, and they should be cared for according to the highest ethical standards to ensure the survival of their species,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji. “We cannot allow ill-equipped handlers of traveling animal acts to mistreat and exploit endangered species.”

The bill was also supported by animal welfare groups including the Humane Society.

“New Jersey is the first state to protect wild animals from the abuses inherent in traveling shows,” said Brian R. Hackett, the New Jersey State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. “For too long, wild animals used in circuses have endured cruel training, constant confinement, and deprivation of all that is natural to them. We are grateful that Governor Murphy is signing Nosey’s Law to close the curtain on this type of cruelty in our state.”