Senator Linda Holmes’s Groundbreaking ‘Bear Selfie’ Law Featured in National Geographic

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – State Senator Linda Holmes, known for her sponsored legislation on various topics, has gained significant media attention recently for her animal welfare bill. The bill, informally referred to as the “bear selfie” law, was featured in National Geographic, marking a new level of recognition for Holmes.

Throughout her career, Holmes has been committed to advocating for laws that address the treatment and confinement of animals, both domestic and wild, with a particular focus on eliminating dangerous and unhealthy conditions. Her latest legislation, the Wild Animal Public Safety Act, targets roadside zoos and traveling exhibitions, specifically prohibiting close public contact with primates and bears.

Effective January 1st, 2024, the new law classifies allowing public encounters with bears and primates as a Class B misdemeanor, except for a few specified exempted individuals. Illinois became the first state to enact such a prohibition on the use of captive elephants in traveling circuses thanks to another law championed by Holmes in 2017.

Holmes emphasized that the use of these animals perpetuates a cycle of breeding for profit, where they are born into captivity and utilized as mere props and commodities. Interactions between humans and these captive animals have proven to be detrimental for both parties, posing potential risks and tragedies.

In addition to highlighting Holmes’ “bear selfie” law, the National Geographic article also discussed other animal welfare issues that Illinois has taken action on. Holmes has played a leading role in legislation regarding the sale of puppy mill animals in pet stores, the development of non-animal research methods, and the availability of dogs and cats used in lab experiments for adoption.

Holmes earned a notable achievement as well, receiving a perfect score on the Humane Society’s 2023 animal welfare legislation scorecard.

By advocating for stricter regulations and implementing new laws, Senator Linda Holmes continues to make significant contributions to the welfare and protection of animals in Illinois. Her dedication to animal rights reflects the growing concern for the ethical treatment of animals, both in the state and across the country.