Wednesday, April 30, 2014, is an important day for animals in the United States. An historic bill has been introduced in Congress that would finally end the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses. Known as The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA) – HR 4525 – has been championed by Representative Jim Moran (D-VA).
With this bill, the US joins 30 countries around the world that are either discussing a wild animal ban – such as the UK, Brazil, Mexico and others – or have already passed a ban including Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Greece, India, Panama, Singapore, and more (see the full list HERE )
Animal Defenders International (ADI) estimates that around 300 wild animals tour the US with circuses. Over the past 23 years, all species of circus animals ADI has studied have displayed the disturbed, stereotypical behaviors that indicate the animal is not coping with its environment and is suffering – literally going out of its mind. The following recent examples support the need for this bill:
ADI President Jan Creamer, said: “Magnificent wild animals have no place in a traveling circus, and with this bill, the US joins almost 30 countries across the world that have taken action to end the suffering. Due to the very nature of the traveling circus, wild animals cannot move around or exercise naturally, they live their whole lives chained or tied up, or in small cages that fit on the back of a truck. Our investigations have also shown that violence to control animals is part of circus culture; animals are beaten, whipped and electric shocked to make them perform tricks. This brutality has no place in modern society.”
In the US, over 40 local ordinances have been passed in 20 states but ADI argues that it is vital the issue is addressed federally, because a circus may train animals in one state but move them between a dozen or more states during the year.
Philanthropist and legendary TV host of The Price Is Right Bob Barker said: “Americans are becoming increasingly aware that circus animals suffer from violent training techniques and severe confinement. Big, wild animals should not be part of the traveling circus and simply put, animal acts in circuses are antiquated and belong in the past, in a time when humans were ignorant about the needs of the other species who share our planet.”
CSI actress Jorja Fox, known to 73 million viewers as CSI’s Sara Sidle, said: “Congress has a responsibility to protect the welfare of animals and ensure public safety. A prohibition on the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses is proportionate, responsible, the least expensive solution to this problem, and long overdue. We call on Congress to bring to an end, once and for all, the abuse and suffering that has been exposed by ADI time and time again.”
ADI also cites the growing popularity of shows with human performers like Cirque de Soliel, as an example of how circuses can adapt and eliminate wild animal acts and at the same time become more relevant to modern audiences.
We hope you’ll join us in making this historic bill a reality for the animals.
Thank you for raising awareness and spreading the word!