Hawaii Poised to Become the First State to Ban Wild Animal Entertainment Acts

Posted by Davi Lang, ALDF Legislative Coordinator on May 12, 2015

Last week, Hawaii Governor David Ige announced his pledge to cease issuing permits for wild animal performances in the State of Hawaii. This would make Hawaii the first state in the U.S. to effectively ban wild animal entertainment acts.


Governor Ige’s announcement comes twenty years after the tragic incident in Honolulu involving an elephant named Tyke, who was trained and used by the notorious Hawthorn Corporation—an exhibitor with a lengthy history of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act. Despite Tyke’s history of escapes and attacks, Hawthorn still provided her to be used in Circus International at the Neal Blaisdell Center in Honolulu in 1994. While in Honolulu, Tyke went on another rampage, trampling a groomer, killing a handler, and injuring a dozen bystanders on the streets of downtown Honolulu. Local police ended up opening fire on the panicked and frightened Tyke, who sustained 86 gunshot wounds before she finally collapsed. Tyke then suffered for another two hours as she slowly died on the street from her injuries. A new documentary about the incident, called Tyke the Elephant Outlaw, currently is appearing at major film festivals around the world.

Dozens of U.S. cities have banned the use of bullhooks and other cruel training devices, and some have banned exotic or wild animal performances altogether. Just last month, San Francisco became the largest U.S. city to enact such a ban, and a Pennsylvania state senator has introduced a similar ban on traveling exotic animal acts. According to company officials, such measures played a significant role in Ringling Bros. recent decision to phase out the use of elephants in its circus.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture plans to place the proposed policy change on its June agenda. But because that rulemaking process could take several months, Gov. Ige’s has ordered the Department of Agriculture to immediately deny all further permits for wild animal performances.

ALDF applauds Governor Ige for this progressive and compassionate decision to make Hawaii the first U.S. state to end the cruel and outdated practice of using wild and exotic animals for entertainment. Recognition is also due to those advocates and organizations on the ground who engage with decision-makers to lay the groundwork for such victories. ALDF will continue to assist in these efforts by employing all litigation and legislative means help to bring an end to all further use of animals in entertainment acts.

15 thoughts on “Hawaii Poised to Become the First State to Ban Wild Animal Entertainment Acts

  1. Allison Norris says:

    way to go, Hawaii! Out of the dark ages!

  2. Rita Akalski says:

    Thank God Hawaii is taking a stNd on this animal abuse. Another reason why I love the “Aloha State.”

  3. Jean Colegrove says:

    Elephants are born in the wild therefore I am against anyone trapping them , & abusing ,& neglecting them all for entertainment purposes for humans. They should be allowed to be left alone to live out their natural lifespan in their natural habitat!!
    Hawaii is doing the right thing. Now, the rest of the USA needs to get with the program!!

  4. dani says:

    The joy and hapiness from all animals who smell freedom is worth more than anything.. They also same as human deserve a fair life full of love and learning and giving. please. a circus is awesome without animals too.. As long the animals are around with you.. tespect them. love them. and then set them free to new home. karma. love. give. respect. friend.

  5. Lucere Whitney says:

    The animals are beaten into submission. Chained abused. Have never been able to feel grass/Earth beneath there feet. Have no knowledge of happiness. How can this be good for anyone? Except for the heartless abusers lining there pockets with money? Children need to be taught love and compassion for animals. Now there is something worth while. Live Aloha❤️ Love Hawaii

  6. della lurusso says:

    Ban the use of these lovely animals

  7. Pinke Andersson says:

    That would be a noble thing to do! You should have even more reason to be proud! Please do!

  8. Thomas Tugwell says:

    Way to go Governor! Thank you!

  9. Gayle Sokolsky says:

    Thank you Governor David Ige! Many people are grateful, and appreciate what you’ve done to protect our animals. You deserve many blessings.

  10. Darla Sullivan says:

    Hurrah for Hawaii! Now everyone needs to follow there example!

  11. Michael Mayben says:

    I hope other U.S. states adopt the banning of wild animal entertainment as Hawaii has done. It’s cruel and inhumane to shackle this wild animals for profit.

  12. Linda Ashworth says:


  13. Sandy Butkovich says:

    Yes! THANK YOU HAWAII! Now hoping that every other state in America follows suit. And then, the world!

  14. karen mignona says:

    Be the first..make history

  15. Briana Schulte says:

    Thank you Gov. Ige. Now, please tell me why there is an Alaskan Grizzly bear attraction at the 50th State Fair this summer?

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