S2508, Nosey’s Law, which “prohibits use of elephants and other wild or exotic animals in traveling animal acts” was passed by both houses in the N.J. legislature on January 8, 2017 and is headed to the Governor’s desk.
The bill, if signed, would put many of the state’s zoos and other businesses that include educating the public about amazing exotic species, out of business. Therefore, hopefully, it will be vetoed by the Governor as one of his last official acts.
The bill was amended before the final vote to include banning “other wild or exotic animals” in addition to “elephants” from use in traveling animal acts.
The definitions of “Mobile or traveling housing facility.” “Performance,” and “Traveling animal act” make this bill extremely problematic and would have devastating and unreasonable results:
As used in this section:
“Mobile or traveling housing facility” means a vehicle, including a truck, trailer, or railway car, used to transport or house an animal used for performance.
“Performance” means any animal act, carnival, circus, display, exhibition, exposition, fair, parade, petting zoo, presentation, public showing, race, ride, trade show, or similar undertaking in which animals perform tricks, give rides, or participate as accompaniments for the entertainment, amusement, or benefit of a live audience.
“Traveling animal act” means any performance which requires an animal to be transported to or from the location of the performance in a mobile or traveling housing facility.
Based on these definitions, any wild or exotic animals transported to one of the state’s zoo’s or exotic animal exhibits would be banned.
This includes the Cape May Zoo, the Camden Aquarium, and Great Adventures, to name a few.
And the type of animals to be banned, based on the definitions promulgated by NJ DEP include:
‘Exotic mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian,’ [which] means any nongame species or mammal, bird, reptile or amphibian not indigenous to New Jersey.
‘Wild bird” means any bird other than a native, introduced, or feral game bird as defined in N.J.S.A 23:4-49 and other than a domesticated bird such as a chicken, turkey, guinea fowl, goose, duck, pigeon, or peafowl. ‘Wild bird’ also means the egg of a wild bird.
N.J.A.C. 7.25-4.1, et seq.
DEP requires permits for owners of exotic mammals including ferrets, llama, and exotic sheep or goats (undefined). While llama, sheep and goats (and ratites) are also considered livestock, they would still be banned from exhibitions, including state and county fairs under the provisions of this bill.
Wild and exotic bird eggs, transported for incubation, even if to preserve endangered species would also be banned.
Such unintended consequences of this bill can only be addressed if it is vetoed.