Stop Circus Suffering

US Bill to ban wild animals in circuses reintroduced!

Reps Ryan Costello and Raul Grijalva reintroduce H.R. 1759, the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA) which will see an end to the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows in the US.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) applauds Reps Ryan Costello (R-PA-06) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) on their reintroduction of H.R. 1759, The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA) which will see an end to the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows in the US. The bill was launched March 28, 2017 in the prestigious Cannon House Office Building in Washington DC.

Given the circumstances of constant travel in accommodations that need to be small, lightweight and suitable for transport on a truck or trailer, the congressmen have concluded that ending wild animal use is the only practical approach to deal with public safety issues and inspection and oversight problems repeatedly cited by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

ADI has been honored to provide evidence and assistance on the bill, which is expected to receive widespread public support. A recent poll has revealed that 2/3 of Americans are troubled by the use of animals in traveling shows. Across 27 states in the US, 66 jurisdictions have already decided to either ban or restrict the use of wild animals in traveling shows, due to concerns about public safety and animal welfare. Internationally, 34 nations have also taken action and ended wild animal performances.

Careful research and detailed investigations of animal circuses has shown that both public safety and animal welfare is unacceptably compromised in traveling performances. Large, dangerous and unpredictable wild animals, under duress and suffering stress from confinement in small spaces, often displaying behavioral abnormalities, has proven to be a public safety hazard. Escaped animals have maimed and killed workers, members of the public, including children.

Federal oversight of traveling animal acts is costly, problematic, and unmanageable. Nominal licensing fees and minimal, inconsistent monetary penalties don’t cover oversight costs; they are largely borne by taxpayers. The US taxpayer effectively pays for 87% of the licensing costs whereas the circus only pays 13%. To ban wild animals in circuses altogether is cleaner, less costly, and more easily enforced than the current, costly, admittedly problematic and ineffective regulatory oversight. The current administration is calling on Congress to make deep cuts to the budget, with an eye toward less government regulation. Passing the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (HR 1759) will protect animals and public safety while saving taxpayer money and reducing government regulation.

ADI advocates the change of the business model to human-performance circuses; they are popular with the public, require labor so create jobs, and bring in dollars without exposing citizens to chronically stressed and abused animals.

Rep. Costello said, “Traveling circuses have raised concerns about the treatment and well-being of wild and exotic animals, such as their ability to move and socialize. The Traveling Exotic Animal & Public Safety Protection Act will protect these animals from activities that are detrimental to their health. The residents of Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District are strong supporters of animal welfare and I’m proud to introduce this bill with Rep. Grijalva.”

Rep. Grijalva announced: “The captivity of exotic animals has proven over the years to be torturous to some of the most majestic creatures on Earth, and downright dangerous for the people who come to see them. A growing public understanding of the detrimental impacts on animals and the risks posed to attendees has already changed the face of circuses in America. It is imperative that we meet the call to end this practice once and for all.”

ADI President Jan Creamer said “ADI has been pleased to work on this proposal with Rep. Costello and Rep. Grijalva and we know how determined they are to protect wild animals and the public from these cruel and dangerous acts. The evidence is clear, circuses simply cannot meet the needs of these animals in small, mobile accommodation and public safety is at risk when people stand so close to the animals.”

Philanthropist and TV host of The Price Is Right Bob Barker said: “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 ignorant about the needs of the other species who share our planet.”

CSI actress Jorja Fox, known to 73 million viewers as CSI’s Sara Sidle, said: “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.”

Reps Costello and Grijalva’s announced the bill at a Capitol Hill press conference joined by CSI stars Jorja Fox (‘Sarah Sidle’) and Eric Szmanda (‘Greg Sanders’), who spearheaded the ADI campaign and spoke in support of the bill along with Reps Costello and Grijalva, former Congressman Jim Moran and ADI President Jan Creamer.

Award winning film and TV legend Ed Asner is one of more than a dozen celebrities, from the entertainment industry, who are featured in ADI’s new 3-minute short film, ‘The Reluctant Entertainers’, calling for an end to circus misery, to be launched on the same day.

View ‘The Reluctant Entertainers’ here.

It is time for the US to join the 34 nations that have taken action. Despite assurances from the circus industry, the physical and psychological health of animals in circuses is inevitably compromised. Animals in circuses are routinely subjected to brutal training methods and violence – wherever ADI has conducted an undercover investigation around the world, it has documented acts of abuse. Animal circuses do nothing to teach people about the animals’ real needs and the way they live, and have no role in education or conservation.

Last year, ADI rescued over 100 animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in Peru and Colombia, including lions, bears, tigers, monkeys and others. ADI and the governments of Peru and Columbia collaborated for the unprecedented Operation Spirit of Freedom campaign; animals were rehabilitated at the ADI rescue center and rehomed in their natural habitats, with 33 African lions returned to their native Africa to start a new life at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, where ADI is funding construction of their habitats and their care.

Support TEAPSPA, the bill that would secure a US wide ban.


  1. Nancy Black · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    We need to take better care of our animals unless we want to be the only living things on earth.

  2. Lisa Henry · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    Animals aren’t for us to abuse!

  3. Mikki Aronoff · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    About time! Thanks to Costello and Grijalva!

  4. Carol Hoke · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    I commend Reps. Costello and Grijalva on their effort! This legislation is desperately needed.

  5. Marjorie Hass · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    Great! Sure hope it passes.

  6. Judith Geraci · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    We can but hope fervently that this bill is enacted!

  7. Mary Anne Christman · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    What a dark and cruel industry circuses using animals to ‘entertain’ has been brought to light. This once ‘wholesome family’ show has a shroud of despicable abuse and can only be considered a cheap and greedy form of exploitation. If our country allows such acts lacking in compassion for every living being, then we must wonder whom we have put into congressional and other governmental offices.

    What a shame such a Congressmen has again been put into office from my state, I can’t bother to send such a petition. Most anything dealing with wildlife, wildernesses, Nature in general is either voted down or against – they fall on blind apathy. It’s a wonder much has survived this long. Unfortunate, helpless,suffering animals. I hope such demands for change will stir the citizens of all countries to bring this world into a must needed peaceful planet.

  8. Lisa Klein · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    It is absolutely IMPERATIVE that TEAPSPA is passed, so that, going forward, SO many animals will be spared the cruelty, abuse, pain, and suffering that they have endured, for way too long now, at the hands of heartless, greedy, sadistic circus owners, trainers, and employees!! Let’s fight to the end for these animals’ freedom and happiness! Go TEAPSPA!

  9. Paleo1 · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    Amazing! I’m looking forward to it. It’s about time the circus ends it’s big cat acts.

  10. Joan Bevan · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    This has been a long time coming and it is the right thing to do. This is for our children so they can enjoy them in the wild as it should be. Thank You

  11. Della Reece · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    I love the idea of circus’s being shut down, my prob. is, is that it will take 10 to 15 yrs. or more to actually START to do anything, it’s way too late for any animals already there & they will continue to rip babies from their Mama’s for the next 10 to 15 yrs. Sad that it takes soo long to actually to anything!

  12. Dawn LaMarca · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    I support an end to the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows

  13. Cathy Fuller · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    Stop animal abyse, cruelty now!!! PLEASE?!!

  14. Elisabeth Hansson · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    freedom to animals!

  15. SARA BOSTIC · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    All I can say is that this is a long time coming and if it is passed, many will be spared a life of enslavement and suffering. That would be good news.

  16. Gisela Gama · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    No more cruelty to animals ..

  17. Glennis Whitney · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    Ban all wildlife from circuses

  18. Glennis Whitney · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    No wildlife for circuses

  19. Terri Waters · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    Hello, I have a strong passion for saving capitive animals esp elephants. There is no reason they should suffer for the entertainment of people and to be a money maker for many. It grieves my heart that they suffer as they do with no way to better their lives. Their lives are.only as good as allowed by

    1. Terri Waters · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

      those who own them. They were not created for this. I applaud groups such as this one who stand up for these beautiful creatures. I would be thankful to help with my time. The Shrine circus should remove all animal acts! Sadly, it is my understanding, that they purchased animals from Ringling Bros, so obviously they are still going strong. The public needs to be educated. Education is power, let’s all do our part and let these beautiful animals be who they were created to be. Thank you.

  20. Susan · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    Please tell us how we can help in the BIGGEST way, besides monetary and spreading the word, which I already do.

  21. Christy Mohammadi · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    This is long overdue and must pass. We are a better nation than that.

  22. Deepti Mittal · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    circus animals live stressful lives because of the very fact that they are being held captive. They cannot hunt, roam, or follow their instincts in the many other ways that they do in the wild.
    Kindly do something for the cage animals.

  23. best licensed PI · 27 March 2017 at 12:41a

    Grrr, A blog is had by me on my website and it sucks. I actually
    removed it, but may have to bring it back again. You gave me inspiration!
    Keep on writing!

Leave a comment on this story

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.