New Jersey Is First State to Ban Wild Animal Circus Acts
It is now illegal to use elephants, tigers and other wild and exotic animals in traveling animal acts in New Jersey, the first state to mandate such a move.
Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy signed "Nosey's Law," the namesake of a 36-year-old African elephant with crippling arthritis that was forced to travel around the country, including to the Garden State, for traveling circus acts and suffered abuse, according to a press release from the governor's office.
"These animals belong in their natural habitats or in wildlife sanctuaries, not in performances where their safety and the safety of others is at risk," Gov. Murphy said Friday in the press release.
Today, I am proud to sign a law that will ensure that New Jersey will not allow wild and exotic animals to be explo… https://t.co/jmGT1BpDGD— Governor Phil Murphy (@Governor Phil Murphy)1544817312.0
"This law would not have been possible without the years of hard work and advocacy by Senator Ray Lesniak, whose legacy on issues of animal rights is second to none," the governor added.
Nosey's Law passed the Legislature with only three members from either chamber opposing the measure, the governor's press release said.
The bill actually overwhelmingly passed the Legislature last session but then-Gov. Christie declined to sign it. The pocket veto meant that it had to be approved from scratch under Murphy's administration, according to the New Jersey Record.
Senator Nilsa Cruz Perez, one of the sponsors of the bill, called on other states to follow in New Jersey's footsteps.
"These beautiful creatures suffer from routine abuse and mistreatment by their handlers for the sake of entertainment," said Cruz-Perez in the press release. "This by no means justifies the emotional and physical abuse animals like Nosey are forced to endure. Nosey is now safe in an animal sanctuary, but the law protects other animals from being abused like she was."
Illinois and New York have specifically banned the use of elephants in traveling or entertainment acts, however Nosey's Law bans the use of all wild and exotic animals in these acts.
Last year, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus shut down its 146-year-old "Greatest Show On Earth" not long after it decided to remove elephants from show tours. The circus closed after it was unable to recover from declining ticket sales and the public's growing concern over animal welfare.
Nosey's Law was supported by animal welfare groups.
"New Jersey is the first state to protect wild animals from the abuses inherent in traveling shows," said Brian R. Hackett, director of Humane Society in New Jersey, in the governor's press release. "For too long, wild animals used in circuses have endured cruel training, constant confinement, and deprivation of all that is natural to them. We are grateful that Governor Murphy is signing Nosey's Law to close the curtain on this type of cruelty in our state."
'Saddest Elephant in the World' Wins Freedom, Care After Decades of Chains and Abuse https://t.co/eYE2Uvfw52 @peta… https://t.co/RS3mOwHe7Z— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1517508079.0
Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.
Abundant Harvests<p>Historically, Native people throughout the Americas bred indigenous plant varieties specific to the growing conditions of their homelands. They selected seeds for many different traits, such as <a href="https://emergencemagazine.org/story/corn-tastes-better/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">flavor, texture and color</a>.</p><p>Native growers knew that planting corn, beans, squash and sunflowers together produced mutual benefits. Corn stalks created a trellis for beans to climb, and beans' twining vines secured the corn in high winds. They also certainly observed that corn and bean plants growing together tended to be healthier than when raised separately. Today we know the reason: Bacteria living on bean plant roots pull nitrogen – an essential plant nutrient – from the air and <a href="http://www.tilthalliance.org/learn/resources-1/almanac/october/octobermngg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">convert it to a form that both beans and corn can use</a>.</p><p>Squash plants contributed by shading the ground with their broad leaves, preventing weeds from growing and retaining water in the soil. Heritage squash varieties also had spines that discouraged deer and raccoons from visiting the garden for a snack. And sunflowers planted around the edges of the garden created a natural fence, protecting other plants from wind and animals and attracting pollinators.</p><p>Interplanting these agricultural sisters produced bountiful harvests that sustained large Native communities and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/eam.2015.0016" target="_blank">spurred fruitful trade economies</a>. The first Europeans who reached the Americas were shocked at the abundant food crops they found. My research is exploring how, 200 years ago, Native American agriculturalists around the Great Lakes and along the Missouri and Red rivers fed fur traders with their diverse vegetable products.</p>
Displaced From the Land<p>As Euro-Americans settled permanently on the most fertile North American lands and acquired seeds that Native growers had carefully bred, they imposed policies that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/ahr/87.2.550" target="_blank">made Native farming practices impossible</a>. In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the <a href="https://guides.loc.gov/indian-removal-act" target="_blank">Indian Removal Act</a>, which made it official U.S. policy to force Native peoples from their home locations, pushing them onto subpar lands.</p><p>On reservations, U.S. government officials discouraged Native women from cultivating anything larger than small garden plots and pressured Native men to practice Euro-American style monoculture. Allotment policies assigned small plots to nuclear families, further limiting Native Americans' access to land and preventing them from using communal farming practices.</p><p>Native children were forced to attend boarding schools, where they had no opportunity to <a href="https://doi.org/10.5749/jamerindieduc.57.1.0145" target="_blank">learn Native agriculture techniques or preservation and preparation of Indigenous foods</a>. Instead they were forced to eat Western foods, turning their palates away from their traditional preferences. Taken together, these policies <a href="https://kansaspress.ku.edu/978-0-7006-0802-7.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">almost entirely eradicated three sisters agriculture</a> from Native communities in the Midwest by the 1930s.</p>
Reviving Native Agriculture<p>Today Native people all over the U.S. are working diligently to <a href="https://www.oupress.com/books/15107980/indigenous-food-sovereignty-in-the-united-sta" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reclaim Indigenous varieties of corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and other crops</a>. This effort is important for many reasons.</p><p>Improving Native people's access to healthy, culturally appropriate foods will help lower rates of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aian-diabetes/index.html" target="_blank">diabetes</a> and <a href="https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/ethnicity-health/native-american/obesity" target="_blank">obesity</a>, which affect Native Americans at disproportionately high rates. Sharing traditional knowledge about agriculture is a way for elders to pass cultural information along to younger generations. Indigenous growing techniques also protect the lands that Native nations now inhabit, and can potentially benefit the wider ecosystems around them.</p>
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