bans on circuses 

Countries, states, cities and towns have started restricting the use of wild animals in circuses 

Over the years, there has been growing public disapproval about the use of wild animals in entertainment. This concern is shown by the impact of the film Blackfish and the decline in SeaWorld attendance after its release, the closing of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and the recent passage of statewide bans on the use of wild animals in traveling acts in both New Jersey and Hawaii.
Lions, tigers, bears, and elephants are wild animals – sensitive species whose needs as mammals no circus can meet. This inability for circuses to properly care for these animals has been recognized in over 40 countries around the world, where (some or all) wild animals have become prohibited for use in circuses and other traveling acts; in Canada, there are local bans on the use of animals in circuses in over 28 municipal jurisdictions.

In the U.S., there are seven states and 149 other localities (cities, towns, and counties) in 39 states that have passed various restrictions or bans involving the use of wild animals in circuses. 

In 2019, both New Jersey and Hawaii passed statewide laws banning the use of ALL wild animals in circuses! Massachusetts, California, and Pennsylvania have also introduced similar legislation. 

UNited States

Bans or restrictions involving the use of wild animals
in circuses and/or traveling shows in the U.S.
(statewide listed first, followed by cities/towns/counties)

  • Arkansas: Eureka Springs
  • California: Statewide ban on the use of bullhooks or other similar pain inflicting devices on elephants; Belvedere, Corona, Corte Madera, Dinuba, Encinitas, Fairfax, Hanford, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Larkspur, Los Angeles, Marin County, Mill Valley, Newport Beach, Novato, Oakland, Orinda, Pasadena, Rohnert Park, Ross, Rolling Hills Estates, San Anselmo, San Francisco, San Rafael, Santa Ana, Sausalito, Tiburon, West Hollywood
  • Colorado: Boulder, Loveland, Timnath
  • Connecticut: Bridgeport, Stamford
  • Florida: Citrus County, Destin, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Margate, Mary Esther, Miami Beach, Okaloosa County, Panama City, Pompano Beach, Sebring
  • Georgia: Baldwin County, Coweta County, Fulton County, Union City
  • Hawaii: Statewide ban on importing dangerous wild animals for circuses or carnivals; Maui County
  • Idaho: Blaine County, Ketchum
  • Illinois: Statewide ban on the use of elephants in traveling shows
  • Indiana: Beech Grove, Bloomington, Munster, Whiting
  • Iowa: Ames, Burlington, Roland
  • Kansas: Olathe, Wyandotte County
  • Kentucky: Grant County, Kenton County, Louisville
  • Maine: Bar Harbor, Portland
  • Maryland: Montgomery County
  • Massachusetts: Braintree, Cambridge, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Provincetown, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, Weymouth
  • Michigan: St Clair Shores
  • Minnesota: Minneapolis
  • Mississippi: Statewide ban on temporary exhibits allowing public contact with most wild animals; Biloxi, Brandon, Clinton, Crystal Springs, D'Iberville, Flowood, Gulfport, Horn Lake, Jackson, Meridian, Ridgeland, Southaven, West Point
  • Missouri: Richmond
  • Montana: Missoula
  • Nebraska: Bellevue
  • New Jersey: Statewide ban on the use of wild animals in traveling shows; Bergen County, Clifton, Cumberland County, Hudson County Jersey City, Passaic County, Vineland
  • New Mexico: Las Cruces, Santa Fe
  • New York: Statewide ban on the use of elephants in entertainment acts, statewide ban on public contact with big cats and with endangered or threatened species, including elephant rides; East Hampton, Greenburgh, New York City, Southampton, and Wallkill
  • North Carolina: Asheville, Chapel Hill, Orange County
  • Ohio: Delaware
  • Oklahoma: El Reno, Mustang
  • Oregon: Benton County, Clatsop County, Multnomah County
  • Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh
  • Rhode Island: Statewide ban on the use of bullhooks or other similar pain inflicting devices on elephants
  • South Carolina: Aiken County, Edgefield County, Spartanburg
  • Tennessee: Germantown, Oliver Springs
  • Texas: Aransas Pass, Austin, Corpus Christi, Denton, Killeen, Marion, Nolanville
  • Utah: Helper, Huntington, Layton City
  • Vermont: Burlington
  • Virginia: Charlottesville, Fairfax, King George County, Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince William County, Richmond, Salem, Spotsylvania County
  • Washington: Darrington, Port Townsend, Redmond, Snohomish, Spokane
  • Wisconsin: Dane County

Other countries

Bans or restrictions on the use of wild animals
in circuses and/or traveling acts outside the U.S.

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • England
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Macedonia
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Scotland
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan