Illinois facilities keeping bears and monkeys in confinement are no longer allowed to let the public touch or feed the animals, thanks to the newly passed Wild Animal Public Safety Act which prohibits the public from having “direct contact” with these animals.

“The use of these animals continues a cycle of endless breeding where they are born into captivity to be used as props and business commodities,” state Senator Linda Holmes said in a press release about the law she sponsored.

The law, which was modeled after a similar law in Indiana, was designed to protect both the animals and humans against businesses that let people — including children — pet, feed, and take photos with monkeys and bears, according to My Journal Courier.

Facilities that allow people to take photos with bears or feed monkeys are inherently cruel. Animals are typically taken from their mothers as infants to meet demand for “cute” baby animal photo ops. They grow up in stressful, unnatural environments and are deprived of their social needs.

When infant animals grow too old for these photos, they may be sent to roadside zoos, circuses, and other harsh facilities.

This new law makes it a Class B misdemeanor for anyone to allow a member of the public to subject bears and monkeys to stressful contact with humans.

Wild animals do not exist for human “entertainment.” Infant bears and monkeys do not deserve to suffer the loss of their mother or wild homes. As sentient animals with rich inner lives, they deserve to be wild.

Lady Freethinker investigations have exposed how critically endangered animals like orangutans and tigers similarly suffer when they are kept in confinement and exploited for photo ops.

Lady Freethinker applauds Illinois for passing this law to protect bears and monkeys from being exploited for forced photo ops and hopes to see other states follow suit.

You can protect animals by signing our petitions to ban forced photo ops for orangutans and tigers and by never patronizing zoos, circuses, and other places that exploit animals for entertainment.