Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) has reintroduced the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA) to Congress. If this bill passes, it would restrict the use of exotic, and non-domesticated animals by traveling circuses in the United States.
The Bill is being pushed by Animal Defenders International (ADI), which has successfully lobbied thirty countries to ban, or limit the use of animals in traveling circuses. TEAPA aims to end the use of exotic and wild animals in circuses, because they are subjected to cramped quarters, and forced to perform under fear of being physically assaulted if they refuse.
“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,” said ADI President Jan Creamer.
ADI has been working with Moran, and is supplying members of Congress with detailed evidence of animal abuse in traveling circuses. “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,” said Moran. “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,” he added.
ADI estimates that around three hundred wild animals tour the United States with circuses. Already, over forty local ordinances have been passed in twenty states, but ADI argues that it is vital the issue be addressed federally, because a circus may train animals in one state, but move them between a dozen, or more states during the year.
The Bill would see the United States join almost thirty diverse countries that have already passed similar legislation including Austria, Belgium, Greece, India, Bolivia, Colombia and Panama. Other countries that are currently considering legislation include Great Britain, Brazil and Mexico. British Prime Minister David Cameron, recently promised that a ban would be passed within the next twelve months.
In October 2013, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to ban the use of bullhooks and “other implements and tools designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training and controlling the behavior of elephants” in circuses and traveling shows within the county. Stephen Payne, vice president of Field Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. “Really what this bill does is it bans the use of the guide for our circus. We’ll be unable to bring Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey back to the city of Los Angeles.” The bill is not go in effect until 2017
Judging from the amount of countries that have already banned the use of wild animals in circuses, it is fair to say that animal circuses are no longer an acceptable form of entertainment. Shows with human performers such as ‘Cirque de Soleil’ are rapidly growing in popularity.
Images below were taken at Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus Elephant “Training Facility”. Here baby elephants are taken away from their mothers and beaten until submission so they will perform tricks for human amusement
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