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 over 80 jurisdictions (cities, towns, and counties) in at least 31 states that have full or partial bans on the use of animals in circuses.

In 2017, Illinois became the first state to ban the use of elephants in circuses and other traveling performances. In 2019, both New Jersey and Hawaii passed laws banning the use of ALL wild animals in circuses! New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania have already introduced or are considering similar legislation. 

UNited States

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

  • Arkansas: Eureka Springs, Sherwood
  • California: Corona, Encinitas, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Los Angeles, Marin County, Oakland, Pasadena, Rohnert Park, Santa Ana, West Hollywood
  • Colorado: Boulder
  • Connecticut: Stamford
  • Florida: Clearwater, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Lauderdale Lakes, Margate, Miami Beach, Pompano Beach, Tallahassee, Weston
  • Georgia: Fulton
  • Hawaii: statewide ban
  • Idaho: Ketchum
  • Illinois: Collinsville
  • Indiana: St. John
  • Kansas: Douglas County
  • Massachusetts: Braintree, Cambridge, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, Provincetown, Weymouth
  • Missouri: Richmond
  • New Jersey: statewide ban
  • New York: Greenburgh, Southampton, NYC
  • North Carolina: Orange County, Chapel Hill
  • Oregon: Clatsop County
  • South Carolina: Chester County; Aiken County
  • Texas: Simonton
  • Vermont: Burlington
  • Washington: Port Townsend, Redmond
  • Wisconsin: Dane County, Green Bay

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