New Bill Aims to End Use of Wild Animals in Traveling Circuses

A new bill from Representatives Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Raul Grijalva (DA-AZ) called the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA) aims to end the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows in the U.S.

In support of the new bill submitted to the House of Representatives last week, Animal Defenders International (ADI) has launched a short film titled “The Reluctant Performers” that features commentary from a dozen celebrities on why they want traveling circuses to stop using wild animals. There will be screening of the new short film from ADI, ‘The Reluctant Performers’, which features more than a dozen celebrities from the entertainment industry (Ed Asner; Danny Boyle; Brian Blessed; James Cromwell; Jorja Fox; Tonya Kay; Kim Matula; Moby; Eric Roberts; Mindy Sterling; Eric Szmanda; Alexandra Paul; Diane Warren) in support of the bill to end the use of wild animals in traveling circuses, with the simple message “Leave the entertaining to the people who want to perform, they have a choice.” Watch the new video: ADI studies worldwide show a consistent pattern of confinement, deprivation and physical abuse in animal circuses. These stressed wild animals suffer in small, barren, mobile facilities in circuses that also represent a threat to public safety. Escaped animals have maimed and killed workers and members of the public, including children. TEAPSPA sponsors Rep Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) have concluded that given the circumstances of constant travel, and the need to house animals in temporary facilities and on the backs of trucks, both animal welfare and public safety are inevitably compromised.

With the inherent public safety, inspection and oversight issues repeatedly cited by the Office of Inspector General (OIG), ending the use of wild animals in the travelling shows is a practical and proportionate solution. Representative 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.” Representative 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.” Actor Eric Szmanda, known to 73 million viewers as CSI’s ‘Greg Sanders’, said: “In this day and age we should not be forcing elephants, lions, bears, tigers or any animal for that matter, to suffer in the name of entertainment. The US needs to join more than 30 other countries that have banned the use of exotic animals in the circus. That’s why I’m supporting the introduction of TEAPSPA.” Actress Jorja Fox, known to worldwide 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.” Philanthropist and legendary host of The Price Is Right, Bob Barker says: “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.” ADI President Jan Creamer said “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. That is why over 30 countries around the world have taken action and why it is time for the US to act.” Across 27 states in the US, 71 jurisdictions have already banned or restricted the use of wild animals in traveling shows, often citing animal welfare and public safety concerns. 34 countries have national prohibitions on wild animals in circuses. ADI recently completed operations with the wildlife departments of Peru and Bolivia to enforce bans on animals in circuses. The missions, confiscating and relocating almost 200 circus animals enjoyed huge public support.