This is one of the areas where Jim Moran has made a real difference in his career in Congress. I strongly urge whichever Democrat succeeds Rep. Moran to carry on his legacy of fighting for the protection of animals from abuse and inhumane treatment of all kinds, as is most certainly the case with many (most?) circuses.
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat and co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, today introduced the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 4525) to restrict the use of exotic, non-domestic animals touring with 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 Rep. Jim 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.”
Various news reports have exposed the mistreatment of wild animals in traveling circus shows, including limited travel space and long hours inside vehicles, cruel training methods, and stress from abnormal living conditions. In one recent case, the parent company of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus agreed to pay a record $270,000 fine to the United States Department of Agriculture in response to claims of Animal Welfare Act violations between June 2007 and August 2011.
Animal Defenders International (ADI) President Jan Creamer weighed in in support of Rep. Moran’s proposal, saying, “Magnificent wild animals have no place in a traveling circus, and with this bill, the US takes the lead with 27 countries across the world that have taken action of 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. This lack of freedom leads to health, behavioral and psychological problems.
“Our investigations have 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.”
The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act would reform the use of all exotic animals in traveling circuses. The bill would end the confinement of animals for extended periods in temporary facilities, stop cruel training and control methods employed by circuses, and limit the danger these animals pose to public safety.
The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act targets only the most egregious conditions and would not impact zoos, aquariums, rodeos or other static facilities with captive wildlife. Reps. Jones (R-NC), Johnson (D-GA), Chu (D-CA), Schiff (D-CA), and Cardenas (D-CA) are all original cosponsors.