Breaking! Bill To Ban Use of Wild and Exotic Animals In Circuses Approved By Full Assembly In CA; Next Step Senate Floor

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Senate Bill 313, the Circus Cruelty Prevention Act, was approved yesterday by the Full Assembly with a 56 – 11 vote and now heads to the Senate floor for concurrence, then to the governor’s desk. SB 313 protects many species such as elephants, monkeys, bears and tigers from being forced to perform in circuses, where they are denied any semblance of a natural life while suffering physically and psychologically.

SB 313 is authored by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) and will ban most animals, including wild animals, as performers in all California circuses. The bill is cosponsored by PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – and Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL), a political advocacy group that creates and changes laws to support animal rights, protection and welfare in California and beyond.

“Once again, we received huge support for vital legislation that will save animals from torture and death,” said SCIL founder and CEO Judie Mancuso in an email sent to WAN. “Public demand for cruelty-free circuses is growing nationwide and today California moved one step closer to completely banning the inhumane use of animals in circuses.”

Circuses travel nearly year-round in all weather extremes, with animals confined to trailers or trucks and often lacking necessities such as food, water and veterinary care. Elephants are chained and big cats are imprisoned in cramped, filthy cages. There’s no relief once the animals reach a venue where they remain caged and chained in arena basements and parking lots.

“California is the wildlife state. Its climate has produced an amazing diversity of habitat, and a diverse array of both plant and animal species – more than any other state in the US,” said Senator Ben Hueso.“There is no need here, or anywhere, to support traveling animal acts that take these precious creatures out of their natural habitat and place them in dangerous conditions. I thank my colleagues in the Assembly for stepping up to move us one step closer to banning these shows statewide and ending these animals’ suffering once and for all.”

PETA and SCIL helped with much of the research, legislative language and expert testimonies, in addition to generating support from other organizations. Lily TomlinLucy Davis, Joaquin Phoenix, and numerous other stars have all joined PETA’s campaign in support of the ban.

“Animals aren’t photo props, they don’t belong on a carnival midway, and they’re not willing participants in circuses, so PETA looks forward to seeing Senator Hueso’s bill become law and the days of dragging beleaguered camels and caged tigers across California come to an end,” said PETA Foundation Deputy Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews.

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