Senator Hueso Condemns Cruel Treatment of Live Bear by Gubernatorial Hopeful John Cox

May 04, 2021

SACRAMENTO – Today California gubernatorial candidate John Cox kicked off a three-day, statewide campaign bus tour in which he is exploiting a live bear as a political prop. In response, Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), author of the Circus Cruelty Prevention Act of 2019, issued the following statement:

“I was disappointed and appalled to see gubernatorial hopeful John Cox (“The Beast”) parade a live bear to his press conference in Sacramento today. Two years ago I introduced SB 313, which was signed into law and bans the use of wild animals in circuses. While the letter of the law pertained to circuses, the spirit of the law protected animals, such as Kodiak bears, from being used in events as props, such as Mr. Cox's publicity stunt.

“The display of an awe-inspiring bear is a shameful, distasteful trick to bring attention to a candidate, and it is unrepresentative of a state that values humane treatment of animals and a civil discourse.  An innocent wild animal shouldn’t have to suffer harassment, confinement, and humiliation because Mr. Cox has a problem generating interest in his campaign.”

Judie Mancuso, founder and CEO of political advocacy group, Social Compassion in Legislation, added in response to Mr. Cox’s claim of “beastliness”:

"As a cosponsor of the 2019 bill, SB 313 (Hueso), which was signed into law to protect wild animals such as elephants, monkeys, bears, and tigers from being forced to perform in circuses, it was horrific to see the blatant disrespect for wildlife coming from political candidate, John Cox, today.

"Californians love their wildlife, and the last thing we want to see is a 1,000-pound bear dragged around the state to somehow make up for a politician's brawn that he aspires to possess.  We should be solely judging our elected officials on their own merits and not on their desire to use caged wild animals who are often beaten into submission to be trained for a photo op."

Senate Bill 313 was signed into law in 2019 by Governor Newsom and protects wild or exotic animals by prohibiting any person from sponsoring, conducting, operating, or participating in a circus that uses any animal other than a domestic dog, domestic cat or domesticated horse. The legislation was sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation and PETA.