Traveling circuses are now banned in Maryland, thanks to new legislation protecting big cats and other wild animals from the cruel exhibitions.

SB 547 — signed into law by Maryland Gov. Wes Moore — protects wild animals from being forced to perform tricks, be shown as exhibits, be ridden, or otherwise be harmed for “entertainment.” Tigers, elephants, bears, lions, cougars, jaguars, leopards, and nonhuman primates are now safe from being forced to act in traveling circuses and other animal exhibitions in the state.

Animals are not props, and this good news affirms that they should be wild and free.

Wild animals used in entertainment are often “trained” with violence — or denied food to force them to submit to “trainers.” They may be subjected to whips, chains, and cruel captivity. Sharp, metal bullhooks are often used to force elephants to allow people to climb their back for “rides.” Traveling shows also confine wild animals to unnatural and stressful transportation like trucks. Animals deserve better than to be subjected to the physical and psychological abuses so common in circuses. “Entertainment” is no excuse for animal abuse.

By banning traveling animal shows, Maryland has taken a compassionate stance against the extreme suffering inherent in these types of exhibitions.

The new law goes into effect October, 1 2024. Violators will be fined up to $2,000 and will be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Maryland is now the tenth state to adopt legislation prohibiting these cruel shows. Lady Freethinker celebrates this humane legislation and encourages other states to follow.