ADI welcomes Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act introduced by Congressman Jim Moran today
Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) today introduced to Congress a bill to end the use of wild animals in traveling circuses in the US – the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA).
Launching the new bill Rep Jim Moran said, “From video and photographic evidence, it’s clear that traveling circuses aren’t providing the proper living conditions for exotic animals. This legislation is intended to target the most egregious situations involving exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses,” The mounting evidence of inhumane treatment and the growing public concern for these animals demands that we reconsider what are appropriate living conditions for these intelligent, social creatures.”
ADI has been working with Congressman Moran and is supplying members of Congress with technical briefings examining evidence of cruelty, the dangers posed by keeping wild animals in temporary housing, and the economics issues.
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.”
Due to their very nature – small, mobile and temporary facilities, restriction of movement, barren environments and long, arduous journeys – wild animals in travelling circuses are subject to unavoidable suffering. The restricted facilities, and the nature of the acts the animals are forced to perform, also increases the amount of handling and control required leading to physical abuse.
ADI estimates that around 300 wild animals tour the US with circuses, and the following are just a few recent examples of the welfare and public safety issues involved:
- Brown bears caged for 90% of their time in small cages in the back of a trailer. Dressed in costumes, muzzled and forced to ride motorcycles, walk on their front paws and play basketball.
- Elephants routinely chained by two legs for the majority of their time, barely able to take one step forward and one back. Elephants being controlled with bullhooks and stun guns.
- In March, three circus elephants escaped for 45 minutes from a circus in Missouri and rampaged through the parking lot, damaging vehicles. One of the elephants, Viola, had previously escaped from another circus in 2010. Such public safety hazards are frequent in traveling circuses.
- Monkeys living in tiny cages in the back of a camper; forced to wear costumes, collars and leashes and perform tricks.
- Bengal tigers and African lions spending approximately 22 hours a day in cages on the backs of trucks that allow on a few paces to exercise.
If passed, TEAPA would see the US join almost 30 diverse countries that have already passed similar legislation including Austria, Belgium, Greece, India, Bolivia, Colombia and Panama. Others, including Great Britain, Brazil and Mexico, are currently considering legislation.
Supporters of the Bill include:
Philanthropist and legendary TV host of The Price Is Right Bob Barker: “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 not as aware of the needs of the other species that share our planet.“
CSI actress Jorja Fox, known to 73 million viewers as CSI’s Sara Sidle: “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.”