Stop Circus Suffering

Historic Bill to end cruelty to wild animals in circuses

Today on Capitol Hill, Bob Barker and Jorja Fox will join Animal Defenders International, the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and members of Congress to launch a Bill that would end the use of wild animals in circuses in the USA.

Bob Barker, Jorja Fox and animal protection organizations launch ‘Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act’

Today on Capitol Hill, Bob Barker and Jorja Fox will join Animal Defenders International, the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and members of Congress to launch a Bill that would end the use of wild animals in circuses in the USA.

The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA) is a historic first for the U.S., and this Bill, which has attracted bipartisan support and been sponsored by Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va), aims to restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses, effectively bringing to an end the random cruelty and neglect associated with circuses of this nature. It is the first bill to comprehensively tackle the use of all wild animals in US circuses ever to be launched in the U.S.

Please join us for this historic launch event:

When: Wednesday 2nd November
Time: 10.20am EST / 2.20pm UK

The training tools of the circus: bullhooks, electric prods and whips

Careful research and detailed undercover investigations carried out by ADI in U.S. traveling circuses have shown the welfare of animals is unacceptably compromised.

The animals endure confinement, physical and social deprivation, long, arduous journeys, brutal control methods and physical violence. The training tools of the circus trade include bullhooks, electric prods, and whips.

Large animals like lions and tigers spend their lives cramped in small cages, and elephants are forced to live chained by one or more legs for hours on end.

In addition, traveling circuses pose a serious threat to public safety, as the keeping of wild, stressed animals in dangerously close proximity to the public is a recipe for disaster. Incidents of circus workers and members of the public having been killed and maimed by circus animals are well documented.

ADI’s evidence shows how law enforcement authorities have difficulty enforcing Federal animal health, safety, and welfare laws, and violations due to the mobile and transitory nature of traveling circuses.

A new video to be screened at the launch entitled ‘In the United States today…’features footage from circuses including violence, confinement and deprivation. The Bill is supported by a series of Congressional ADI Briefings, which cover key issues such as ‘Public Health & Safety’, ‘Enforcement’, ‘Captivity & Transport’, ‘Control and Violence’, ‘TB’ and ‘Economics’.

This provides overwhelming evidence to support the reasons that it is time for the US to move forward with other countries that are now taking action – the US needs to restrict the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.

Be part of this groundbreaking event

The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act is the first bill to comprehensively tackle the use of all wild animals in US circuses ever to be launched in the U.S. It is a chance to break the chain of circus animal suffering in the U.S. once and for all.

Please join us for this historic launch event:

When: Wednesday 2nd November
Time: 10.20am EST / 2.20pm UK


  1. Lisa Cocciolillo · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

    These Circuses should be shut down!!!

  2. evonne · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

    Thank God Finally…..they need to be put in a place where they can roam freely….

  3. Marcy Townsend · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

    That would be a blessing for the animals, and the cruel treatment they have endured over the years. Nothing worse than seeing an animal mistreated or caged and the miles the circus has to travel each year is unbelievable. Let them live in their own habitat and be free from whips, chains, prods and other devises, which puts money in the pockets of these monsters that have no feelings for what the animal has to endure. Thanks to all who have investigated and Bob Barker and anyone else that is making this possible. You will be rewarded in the end and the animals will be so much happier!

  4. GINA GEBHART · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a


  5. Kim Harkin · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

    Praise God and thank you!!!!

  6. Carol Vegvegan Herard · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for doing this! The time has come to END animal cruelty in the name of “entertainment”.

    1. LoveTheCircus · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

      Think about that the next time you laugh when your dog sits, stays and rolls over. The animals in the circus are every bit as domesticated now as our pets. We keep our pets caged just like the circus. Don’t fool yourself even a whole house is a cage to an animal whos nature is to roam free. We fence them in or chain them when they’re outside. We feed them what we decide is right for them. And many many people neglect and abuse them. We don’t say people can’t have pets, we deal with it on an individual basis and that needs to be done here. You don’t punish a circus that takes care of their animals because another circus doesn’t.

  7. Molly · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

    I really hope this Bill passes. Elephants, lions and tigers in captivity rely on us to protect them from cruel people and lives of misery. So far we haven’t done a good job of it.
    I hope this Bill helps them.

  8. LoveTheCircus · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

    Have fun explaining to your kids what a circus WAS! What is the proposal for what to do with all these animals that will no longer be allowed to perform? Put them in zoos? They’re still confined, still controlled the same way and still have some bad people working with them who might abuse them! I guess we should return them to their natural habitats? Even though most of them were born in captivity and would die in the wild.

    Yes the bullhook looks mean and hurtful but have you ever felt an elephants skin? I have, when I was 14 and tried to run away with the circus. Mr. Gunther Gebel Williams talked me and my friend out of it with a promise of jobs once we finished high school if we still wanted them. He then took us around and showed us all the animals, let us pet some and he nuzzled with them all. I am sure not all trainers love their animals as much as he did but don’t generalize please! Gunthers son was driven out of the circus because he was devastated by allegations he would hurt his animals. If he was 1/10th the man he daddy was I am confident in saying he wouldn’t hurt them for the world!

    Regulation is needed, enforcement of those regulations is needed, prohibition is not, Only the circus’ that meet standards should be allowed animals. I am all for treating them well but I’m also a realist. The circus is their life, their job, it’s what they know, and it’s what they like.

    1. maritza · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

      the idea is NOT to put them in zoos but rehabilitation sanctuaries where they can roam free. you also state the elephants like it. really??? how do you know?? we can safely assume that elephants in the wild don’t entertain each other at night when no one is looking by performing circus tricks. to get them to perform so out of their natural character is definitely not obtained by a gentle hand and a smile! come on and think passed what YOU regard as entertainment! they do not choose this life – it is forced upon them and it is exactly the same as slavery! as for your concern about telling your kids there ‘s no more cicuses, i’m sure they’ll live, there are bigger things in life to worry about.

    2. LoveTheCircus · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

      ok, where does the money come from for these sanctuaries? Even if somehow the startup money is found will the money be there to sustain it for all the years to come? We’re not just talking about these animals but their offspring as well. You say they will roam free? How big are these places? Because free means no barriers.

      I state the animals (not just elephants) like it. No I’m not a mind reader but when your cat rubs on you or your dog licks your hand doesn’t it make you feel he likes you or what your doing? Well Tigers and Lions rub and purr as well, elephants are clowns and have their own ways of expressing their love. You know if they like/love you or not,.They are beautiful and loving creatures, I hope one day you get to experience that up close.

      You say it’s slavery, not hardly, it’s domestication. Thats what you don’t get, Most of these animals were not wild animals, they were born in captivity, they have always been around humans, they love their humans. You say that to get them to perform tricks can not be done with a gentle hand and a smile? How much force do you need to use to teach a dog to do tricks? No they didn’t choose this life, neither did your pets, are they slaves? What about your children? You chose their life, they get kept captive for 18 years, their behaviors good and bad are reinforced in many ways and yes some people use violence to do that. It’s not right for kids or animals and thats why more regulation and follow up is needed but not prohibition. Should no one be allowed to have kids anymore because some people abuse them?

      Yes there are bigger things in life then this to worry about, no doubt about that. It would be nice if you took your passion and drive and applied it towards those things.

    3. maritza · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

      you seriously need to go do some research as to how these animals are trained. and yes, they might be born in captivity but it is not in their nature to do do headstands and do balancing tricks! and if you are seriously comparing a cat or dog to an elephant or tiger, i can see the type of mentality i am dealing with here and will not further waste my time. if you’re THAT beaten up because you might not be able to attend a circus filled with torture in the near future i am also getting a glimpse into how sad your life must be. go watch a movie if you want entertainment. or go to cirque du soleil – animal free circus and 10 times better. or go to an elephant sanctuary if you love them so much – see how they are if they’re not forced to perform! ek het nie tyd vir dom mense soos jy nie!

    4. Janie's Mom · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

      I’ve read everyone of you comments LoveTheCircus, and can counter every comment you made with truths and facts. A elephants skin is not so thick that they cannot feel the sting of a bee, a herd of elephants will run take off running just from the sound of a swarm of bees. Every elephant over the age of 35 was wild caught. Ringling one of the biggest breeders of elephants only has had 23 births since 1992, so almost every single elephant you see in the circus was caught in the wild. There are two true elephant sanctuaries in the U.S. PAWS in CA and The Elephant Sanctuary in Tenn. they have been taking in abused circus elephants for decades and they are supported by private donations, the animals lucky enough to be rescued from the circus are given acres of land to roam and are never beaten, you will not find a bullhook or any other weapon of control at these sanctuaries.. A true sanctuary does not breed wild animals in captivity, so there will be no off springs. You cannot domesticate a wild animal, but you can dominate and beat them into submission. You don’t have to use a fireplace poker, whip and electric prod to train your dog or cat. Domesticated animals can be trained with food rewards, patience’s and repetition.
      With the Internet at your fingertips there is no excuse for not educating yourself and you clearly have not spent much time searching for the truth.

    5. LoveTheCircus · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

      Maritza – I am not “beaten up” that I won’t be able to attend a circus, actually haven’t attended one in about 20 years or so. I do miss it though. I am beaten up that our rights as Americans are being stripped away one by one and the government feels the need to control every aspect of our lives. I am tired of seeing loving, caring people who are doing the right thing getting punished because some people do bad things.

      Why should they not be compared to cats and dogs and even humans? We are all animals and we all share certain qualities. Appreciative of those who take care of us, an eagerness to please those we care about. No the tricks themselves are not natural for an elephant but neither are the tricks we teach our pets. Elephants are tricksters, jokesters and when they like someone they like to make them happy and make them laugh. Ever seen one hug with their trunk? Or goose someone in the butt? It’s funny and there is a twinkle in their eye when they do it. They are smart animals and know exactly what they’re doing. The exotic animals are going through now what cats and dogs did many many years ago, Going from being a wild species to being a domesticated species. We as a race keep destroying their habitats and in years to come there won’t be any wilderness left, The only exotics will be domesticated ones. Those who are taking care of them and loving them now should be able to keep them, that’s all I’m saying, Don’t judge all by the actions of some.

      Your concern for how sad my life must be is appreciated but really I’m fine so don’t worry! I do watch movies although there’s not a lot of good ones these days and I have seen Cirque De Soleil, didn’t much like it. A bit too pretentious and artsy fartsy for my liking, it was pretty though. An elephant sanctuary might be fun but I don’t think there’s one anywhere near me, although if this bill passes I guess they’ll be popping up all over the place right? Hope there’s enough caring and trained people to staff them all. Maybe if I’m lucky there will be like the one I read about that has elephants that paint! That must be one of those tricks they do naturally? Oh and elephant rides! Yay! All these things at the sanctuaries are free too I’m guessing? I mean since they are so against exploiting the elephants for money they must not charge anything? I’m looking forward to that!

      Oh, I used Google translate to find out what you said at the end and got this “I have no time for stupid people like you!” Niiiiice! When all else fails turn to insults, guess I can see the mentality I’m dealing with as well 😉

    6. Kristine rainwater · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

      My 12 year old is just fine knowing what a circus WAS.If you tell the whole story,good and bad ,funny thing…she never wanted to go.Infact,she refused to go.EVER.Fine by me.

    7. Stewart · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

      Hmm. If an elephant could talk, I would guarentee she would not choose the circus. She would choose family, acres to explore, no chains, not ever being hit again and grass beneath her feet. They are not happy, they have no choice. Their skin may feel tough to you but do you know they can feel a fly land on them? My daughter at age 5 was asked to go to a circus. She said a quick “NO” and explained why and what goes into the training (dominating) of these elephants. She is not missing out. She is showing compassion.Regulation is not enough. You should join a human only circus. Now that I would go to.

  9. judy ausmus · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a


  10. Beverly Chandler · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

    Fantastic. “Love the Circus” above needs his or her head examined. Free the poor animals that have been used and abused.

    1. LoveTheCircus · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

      Right, because I have a different opinion then you, I need my head examined? That statement in itself tells me the intelligence level I’m dealing with here. Try opening your mind to other peoples ideas and opinions, that doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, just that you have to be willing to listen and consider. You know kind of like I listen to the people here who have opposing opinion to mine. I have considered all options and feel that more regulation is in order, I just don’t take it to the extreme that the rest of you seem to.

  11. LoveTheCircus · 2 November 2011 at 12:16a

    First I would like to give kudos to this site “Break The Chain” I am impressed that even though I have a somewhat opposing opinion to what you strive for you let my comments stay. That is admirable! To me your cause has more credibility just because of that! I feel that at least you are open minded and not just trying to force one opinion on your readership as many causes do. Thank you for that.

    For anyone who thinks I am an evil or bad person, I’m not, no more then I think you are. We obviously all love animals so that says something in itself. My cat of present has been with me 15 years, He is my best friend, my family, my muse, all wrapped in a furry little package. When his time comes to leave me I know I will bawl like a baby. I’ve had others before him and I loved them all and would never hurt them. I like most animals better then most humans I know. Except maybe bug eyed little chihuahuas 😉 but still would not stand to see someone abuse one.

    I guess my whole thing is I do know some abuse happens in circus’ and I hate that, I want it to end. I just don’t see prohibition as the answer. Laws & regulations and stronger enforcement of them I think is a better way. Not perfect, but better. There are circus’ and zoo’s and even roadside attractions that love and care for their animals like they should and they should be allowed to do that. The good people should not be punished for the bad people. as for the ones who do abuse, well yes I do think their animals should be taken from them. I also think they should be strung up by parts unmentionable. I hate those people just as much as you do!

    I would like to see more people put more thought into it all, not just “Yay” and “free the babies” That’s a wonderful sentiment but not realistic. So far I haven’t seen any comments that address issues like funding, regulation of said sanctuaries, staffing, or even abuse in sanctuaries. It can and will happen. I haven’t seen anyone suggest ways to make this “plan” a reality. I haven’t seen anyone putting any real thought into it much at all. I am not totally against y’alls beliefs and I’m open to hearing what you have to say. I enjoy the debate and maybe if nothing else (since we probably won’t change each others minds) maybe my debate and prodding will cause some of you to get mad enough to actually figure out ways to make it reality instead of just being sideline cheerleaders.

    Lastly I really would appreciate a link to see the actual bill if anyone has it, not just excerpts but the whole thing. Many times we are only told highlights or only the parts an organization with an agenda wants to emphasize. I feel like if I haven’t read the whole thing myself I can’t make an informed decision how I feel about it. As of now I only have my gut reaction to what I’ve heard. Thanks in advance to anyone who can give me a link. (I’m not totally lazy and will look it up tomorrow if no one comes through. Just a long night at work and it’s almost 5am, need some sleep so figured if someone had it they could help me out.)

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