Bipartisan Bill To End Circus Animal Cruelty Throughout The United States To Be Reintroduced To Congress Tomorrow

Photos from Animal Defenders International

Legislation to end the suffering of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses in the United States will be reintroduced to Congress tomorrow, Tuesday, May 21st.

Sponsored by Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and David Schweikert (R-AZ), The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA) is being championed by Animal Defenders International, which has exposed suffering in U.S. circuses over many years and provided evidence to support the bipartisan bill.

“Traveling animal acts deprive exotic and wild animals of their basic dignity and create a safety hazard for the general public,” Representative Grijalva said in a statement. “This legislation updates our antiquated animal welfare laws and prohibits traveling circuses from holding exotic animals such as lions, tigers, and elephants in captivity.”

TEAPSPA supporters include former New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak, and celebrities such as: Ed Asner, Bob Barker, James Cromwell, Moby, and Joaquin Phoenix, among others.

Peace 4 Animals is among a coalition of 20 animal welfare organizations in the United States that also supports this important legislation.

Globally, over 40 countries have already passed national prohibitions on the use of animals in circuses, putting the United States behind countries like Bolivia, Peru, Greece, and the Netherlands. ADI is currently helping the government in Guatemala to enforce a national ban, and has removed 21 lions and tigers from circuses to retire to sanctuaries, including three tigers to Big Cat Rescue in Florida and the remaining animals to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa.

“Animals in traveling circuses suffer. America is taking a stand against this, passing an increasing number of local and state bans, but we can and must do more,” stated ADI President Jan Creamer. “With the introduction of TEAPSPA in Congress, we have a chance now to stop circus suffering nationwide, so let’s do this!”

Recent years have seen increased action in the United States with 92 circus animal prohibitions in 32 states, including cities such as New York and San Francisco, and wild animals banned in circuses statewide in New Jersey and Hawaii; a similar ban is under consideration in California.

According to a 2015 Gallup poll, more than two-thirds of Americans are troubled by the use of animals in traveling circuses. The closure of Ringling Brothers Circus, and the move toward human-only performances, highlights the shift in public consciousness and shows that the time is right for federal action.

“Animals are living, breathing, sentient beings who have a right to live their lives peacefully. They are not here for our entertainment,” said Moby. “The time to say ‘NO’ to circus suffering is now.”

Ways people can help, including contacting their Senators and Representative in support of TEAPSPA, can be found HERE!

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