Banned performing elephants are featured in popular musical film "The Greatest Showman"
SPRINGFIELD - Effective January 1, 2018, elephants are not allowed to be in circuses or traveling shows throughout Illinois - making it the first state in the nation with such restrictions on the use of wild animals.
Ironically, the law goes into effect in a state with a legislature controlled by donkey-mascot Democrats since the 1990s at a time when one of the hottest movies in theaters - The Greatest Showman - features performing circus elephants.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) applauded Illinois' progressive new law while it called for moviegoers to avoid The Greatest Showman because it celebrates P.T. Barnum, who used elephants and lions in his traveling show.
Republican state Rep. Tom Morrison did not mention his party's mascot would be banned statewide when he told the Chicago's WTTW why he opposed the new law.
“A concern of mine was, where does it end?” Morrison said, adding that he does not want to see other animals banned from circuses. “I think these sorts of exhibitions, there is value in them – without defending every circus that’s out there.”
Shriner's Circus organizers are concerned the ban could eat into the non-profit's largest fundraiser when those that pay to see wild animals perform head to neighboring states where elephants are not banned from performing.
One circus pleaded with fans to ask the governor to oppose the bill. Republican Governor Rauner signed it into law.