Hawaii Gov. David Ige has pledged to stop giving permits to entertainment acts that use wild animals, including circuses or other acts.

Animal rights activists say that using wild animals for entertainment purposes risks animal welfare and public safety.

“We thank Gov. Ige for taking a stand against circuses and other acts involving wild animals and urge residents never to attend such cruel spectacles,” said Inga Gibson, who is the state director for the Humane Society of the United States, in a press release Thursday.

Scott Enright, chair of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, said his department was pleased to work with Hawaii’s animal welfare groups to ban the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes, according to the press release.

Ige’s decision comes at a time when many mainland jurisdictions are considering whether to ban shows that use wild animals in entertainment.  About 40 U.S. cities and several countries, including Mexico and the Netherlands, already have such bans in place, according to the Humane Society.

Cathy Goeggel, president of the non-profit organization Animal Rights Hawaii, said that Hawaii should have banned wild animals in circuses 20 years ago after Tyke the elephant killed her trainer, escaped from a circus and was shot in the streets of Honolulu.

Elephant Nature Park

Animal rights activists say wild animals pose a threat to themselves and the public if used in entertainment acts like circuses.

Christian Haugen/Flickr



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