Historic Bill Protects U.S. Circus Animals (Slideshow)

It was a historic day on Capitol Hill Wednesday to save wild animals from U.S. traveling circuses. The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA) was introduced to Congress; a bill that severely restricts how wild and exotic and animals can be used in circuses and exhibitions.

Former Price Is Right host and long-time animal advocate Bob Barker, CSI actress Jorja Fox, Animal Defenders International and the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) joined Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) to launch the bill.

The five-page bill stops exotic and wild animals from performing if they have been traveling on the road in temporary shelters any time in a 15 day period before an event. The wording of TEAPA virtually eliminates the use of wild and exotic animals in U.S. travelling circuses.

“Based upon publically available research, including video and photographic evidence, it is clear that traveling circuses cannot provide the proper living conditions for exotic animals,” Moran said. “This legislation is intended to target the most egregious situations involving exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses.”

Moran also cited the health costs of traveling with exotic animals and the psychological and behavioral problems associated with keeping these animals in captivity. He talked about the use of elephant hooks, electric shocks and other forms of abuse that have been documented by activists.

Congressman Moran, who co-chairs the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, has been a friend to animals in the past by introducing legislation about truth in fur labeling and outlawing the sale of “crush videos.”

Bob Barker said, “The animals that suffer most are the big animals – that would be the elephants – but any animals in traveling circuses suffer terribly. The conditions are completely abnormal. In their training, they are forced to do things that they would never do naturally. They are struck with clubs…they are whipped… They (trainers) even withhold food and water to make them perform.”

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus issued a statement about TEAPA. Stephen Payne, vice president of corporate communications for Feld Entertainment which produces the show said, “This bill doesn’t do anything to improve animal care. We’re the experts on taking care of our animals; we’ve been doing it for over 140 years.”

Sarah, the 54 year-old sick elephant who slipped and fell while boarding a Ringling Bros train this summer, would probably disagree with that statement.

Below are pictures of U.S. circus animals courtesy of Animal Defenders International. 

Photos courtesy of Animal Defenders International

156 comments

Doreen Agostino
Past Member 4 years ago

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Sindy C.
Sindy C.4 years ago

The first step is to urge your Representatives to vote for H.R. 3359. You can read more and track the progress of the bill: http://elephantsinthailand.org/elephants/finally-a-bill-to-protect-asian-elephants-h-r-3359-traveling-exotic-animal-protection-act-2/

m Shiel
M s4 years ago

how do we shut down ringling, .cole brothers shrine circus and the roadside shows????

m Shiel
M s4 years ago

so when will we know if it passed and how much time do the ignorant circus people ahve until they hand over the animals to safety? what stops the circus from further mistreating the animals from the time the bill passes until they have to hand them over?

Ann G.
Ann G.4 years ago

petition?

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Glenda L.
Glenda L.4 years ago

How sad that we're still doing this.

Patrish Dehler
Patricia Dehler4 years ago

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has had a bad reputation for treatment of their animals for many, many years. I hope that someday, in the US, we will no longer see wild animals in circus, or as pets!!!!

Debbie W.
Past Member 4 years ago

If TEAPA is serious about its mission ... and enforcement of same .. the next target should certainly be Big Cat Rescue Entertainment Group (previously known as G.W. Exotics Animal Foundation Joe Schreibvogel) and his multiple company names and personal names which have allowed his flourishing businesses to thrive.

Google G.W. Exotics Animal FoundationJoe Schreibvogel for complete listings, video, pictures, etc.

Another HUGE social networking outcry is needed to apply pressure leading to prosecution of this scumbag and his affiliates. Tell all your friends so that they can tell their friends. LET'S GO.

Judith Howard
Judith Howard4 years ago

Makes my blood boil that elephants and other wild ones have been so cruelly exploited in the circus trade. This article is great news. Thanks for sharing. I may just to live to see no more animal acts under the big top.

I still do my part in sharing with others what suffering elephants and other wild animals endure in the circus.

Bless all creatures, great and small.