Bill To End The Suffering Of Wild Animals In Traveling Circuses & Performances In The U.S. Is Being Reintroduced To Congress Today

A bill amending the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling performances in the U.S. is being reintroduced to Congress today. The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA), sponsored by Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), David Schweikert (R-AZ), and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), will be launched during a live, virtual event hosted by Animal Defenders International (ADI) that also includes the bill’s sponsors and celebrity supporters.

Today’s event will be anchored by Daytime Emmy Award nominated actress, Kim Matula, best known for her roles in The Bold and the Beautiful, the Fox comedy series LA to Vegas, and a new production of Designing Women.

Special guests include Chloe East from True Blood, Kevin Saves the Word, and Generation, who is also currently filming Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, as well as Jorja Fox, known for her role as Sara Sidle in CSI, who will also speak.

“The United States has fallen behind almost fifty other countries that have already passed legislation, like the Traveling Exotic Animal & Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA), banning wild and exotic animals in circuses,” ADI President Jan Creamer, told WAN.

“Traveling circuses cannot possibly meet the needs of these animals. Instead, elephants are forced to live in chains in parking lots, and lions, tigers, and bears are kept in small cages on the backs of trucks,” continued Creamer. “The animals also endure beatings and electric shocks during training. This bill will consign these archaic practices to the history books and we urge everyone to ask their members of Congress to support it.”

Traveling shows cannot provide for the physical, behavioral, and psychological needs of wild animals. Severe confinement in barren conditions, lack of exercise, and restriction of natural behaviors results in animals being prone to health, behavioral, and psychological problems. Welfare is always compromised.

ADI investigators have observed:

  • Brown bears caged for 90% of their time in small cages in the back of a trailer. The animals are dressed in costumes, muzzled, forced to ride motorcycles, walk on their front paws, and play basketball.

  • Elephants are routinely chained by two legs for most of the time, barely able to take one step forward and one step back. They are also controlled with beatings, bullhooks, and stun guns.

  • Tigers and lions would spend approximately 22 hours per day in cages on the back of trucks, which are only just large enough for them to turn around in.

Circus animals perform through fear and are routinely subjected to violence and brutal training methods. Weapons include: whips, shovels, golf clubs, iron bars, bullhooks, and electric shock devices. The constant fear, brutal handling and restriction of movement cause stress to wild animals. When in close proximity to the public, this creates a serious public safety hazard. Deaths and injuries of animals, trainers, and the public, are far too common.

ADI along with a growing number of animal protection organizations and celebrities are calling for an end to the inherent suffering of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses. TEAPSPA supporters include a coalition of over 35 animal protection organizations in the U.S., including WAN’s charity Peace 4 Animals.

Although over 100 local ordinances have passed in 34 states, as well as statewide bans in New Jersey, Hawaii, California, and Colorado, ADI argues that the interstate travel of circuses and the subsequent challenges to oversight make this a federal issue. A circus may train animals in one state, but move them between a dozen or more states during the year. Local ordinances cannot address what happens to the animals outside their jurisdiction.

Watch the reintroduction event today at 10am PST, HERE!

Urge your legislators to support the Traveling Exotic Animal & Public Safety Protection Act, HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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