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Animal Defenders International

Stop Circus Suffering Legislation

Posted: 26 February 2016. Updated: 17 April 2017

ADI’s Stop Circus Suffering is a major international drive to end the suffering of animals in circuses. ADI undercover investigations expose the treatment of animals and this, together with the legal and economic arguments, are the catalyst for change. ADI and our partners have successfully eliminated the abuse of circus animals in local jurisdictions all over the world. To date, 33 countries have placed restrictions on the use of animals in traveling circuses.

In the United States momentum is building at city, state and federal level – but ADI needs you to be involved, to give animals a voice by contacting your representatives.

Federal Bill to end the use of wild animals in circuses: The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA)(H.R.1759)

Representative Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) have reintroduced The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA)(H.R.1759, to amend the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses and traveling performances.

Federal legislation is necessary because circuses involve “interstate commerce” (crossing state and other jurisdictional lines), and because the Animal Welfare Act deems animal exhibition to be a federal matter; public safety issues are passed down to state and local governments, requiring their action as well. All are vital steps to eliminate this suffering.

The key to securing national legislation is ensuring legislators are aware that YOU and others like you want to see them act – that means regular contact, not just when the issue is before them or in the news. Your members of Congress need to know that people want action to end the suffering of circus animals.

We encourage you to contact your senators and representatives in support of H.R.1759 (TEAPSPA); phone calls are especially effective. When visiting their offices, the first and last thing legislators say is whether or not they’ve heard from their constituents. Constituent voices are very powerful and can open doors to the most surprising places.

Find sample letters, talking points and how to contact your representative on our STOP CIRCUS SUFFERING page

California

In 2015, ADI worked with California legislative counsel to submit language on a circus animal ban bill. The effort was supported by San Francisco Board Supervisor Katy Tang (who was instrumental in that city’s ban), among others. Help ADI protect animals by asking legislators to support its introduction.

If you live in California, contact your legislators

Los Angeles, California
Councilmember David Ryu has introduced Council File: 16-1357, which will prohibit the exhibition of wild or exotic animal for entertainment or amusement. ADI has worked closely with the sponsor and is meeting in all council offices providing evidence to support and answering questions. The measure is awaiting a hearing in the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee.
Los Angeles residents, contact the council here and ask them to support CM Ryu’s Council File: 16-1357.

Hawaii

Hawaii is poised to be the first state to ban wild animal acts! The Hawaii Board of Agriculture approved a proposal to prohibit the import of certain “dangerous wild animals” (elephants, tigers and bears) for exhibition and performance, and now seeks public comment. Help make Hawaii the first state to ban wild animal acts!

ADI applauds Hawaii Governor David Ige and the Board for their support! ADI has worked with the Hawaiian Humane Society, HSUS, and local advocates - meeting with legislators, crafting language, and submitting evidence - to secure a state law banning such acts.

If you live in Hawaii, submit comments to:
Plant Quarantine Branch c/o Department of Agriculture at 1849 Auiki Street, Honolulu, HI 96819 or via FAX at (808) 832-0584 or via e-mail at
Jonathan.K.Ho@hawaii.gov

Please include the word “testimony” and the subject matter when submitting testimony by e-mail. Testimony will be accepted up to the close of the last public hearing on May 5 at 7:00pm.

For more information visit ADI here

Maine

ADI has reached out to ME legislators and provided extensive data demonstrating that all traveling wild animal acts are inherently inhumane and unsafe. However, we are dismayed to see that LD396/HP287 as introduced limits its protections to only one species – elephants. Legislators in Maine need to know that their constituents support broader protections.

If you live in Maine, please contact your representative and urge them to support an amendment to LD396/HP287 to protect for ALL wild animals in circuses, and the safety of the citizens of Maine by banning all traveling wild and exotic animal acts.

ME’s Agriculture Committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill March 2nd at 1pm ET.
Contact the Agriculture Committee and your representative and urge them to support an amendment to LD396/HP287 to end traveling wild animal acts in Maine.

Massachusetts

ADI is thrilled that Senator Tarr has introduced S.490 – to prohibit cruel and dangerous traveling wild animal acts throughout the Commonwealth. ADI has been honored to work with Senator Tarr and local advocates over the past few years and this bill is essential to protect both animals and public safety.

However, we are dismayed to see that competing bills have been introduced which limit the protection to only one species – elephants. S.1328 and HD.295 are sponsored by Senator O’Connor Ives and Representatives Ehrlich, Lewis, and Puppolo. This will not only leave other animals to continue suffering in circuses but can also encourage circuses to get more animals.

If you live in Massachusetts, please contact the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture and your representative and urge them to support S. 490 to protect ALL wild animals in circuses, and the safety of the citizens of Massachusetts, by banning all traveling wild animal acts.

Cambridge and Pittsfield, Massachusetts
ADI worked with local campaigners and provided data and evidence to the Cambridge and Pittsfield City Councils against cruel animal acts. We applaud their votes to ban wild animals from traveling shows, making it now nine Massachusetts communities to do so, joining Braintree, Plymouth, Provincetown, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, and Weymouth. Kudos Cambridge and Pittsfield!

New Jersey

ADI has been working with local campaigners in NJ to introduce a state measure to prohibit traveling wild animal acts. Senator Lesniak’s bill S2508 (also sponsored by Senator Cruz-Perez) and Assembly Member Mukherji’s companion bill A4386 to ban elephants (only) in circuses (“Nosey’s Law”) passed the Senate and is, are currently in the Assembly Agriculture & Natural Resources committee. ADI supports the measure, but urges a necessary amendment to include ALL wild animals suffering in circuses. We are encouraged by Assemblyman Raj Mukherji’s and Senator Lesniak’s reported commitment to broaden the bill. Now they need to hear such action is supported by NJ citizens. The science does not favor one species over another, but makes clear that for all wild animals, this is ‘no life worth living.’ It’s true this is no life for wild animals; the reality is one of severe confinement, deprivation, brutality, extensive transport, inconsistent oversight, and a public very much unaware of the risks.

If you live in New Jersey contact the members of the Assembly Agriculture & Natural Resources committee and your representative and urge them to support Nosey’s Law, with an amendment to include ALL wild animals.

Bergen County, Passaic County, Cumberland County, Hudson County, Jersey City and Vineland, New Jersey
Kudos to Bergen County, Passaic County, Cumberland County, Hudson County, Jersey City and Vineland, on being the first localities in NJ to ban cruel and dangerous traveling wild animal acts! ADI worked with local campaigners and local city officials to provide data and assist in drafting the measures

New York

ADI is thrilled that Senator Hoylman has introduced S200276 – to prohibit cruel and dangerous traveling wild animal acts throughout New York. ADI has been honored work with Senator Hoylman and local advocates over the past few years, and this bill is essential to protect both animals and public safety.

However, we are dismayed to see that competing bills have been introduced which limit the protection to only one species – elephants. S02098 and A00464 are sponsored by Senator Murphy and Assemblymembers Paulin, Sepulveda, Lupardo, Mosley, Otis, Magee, Woerner, Lawrence, Zebrowski, Dinowitz, Englebright, and Glick. This will not only leave other animals to continue suffering in circuses but can also encourage circuses to get more animals.

If you live in New York State, Please urge your Assembly Members and your Senator to support S00276 to end the suffering of all wild animals, and protect the safety of the public.

North Carolina

Charlotte and Winston-Salem
ADI is working with local groups in Charlotte and Winston-Salem on ordinances to prohibit traveling animal acts. The councils have thus far been responsive. This is no life for animals; the reality is a one of severe confinement, deprivation, brutality, extensive transport, inconsistent oversight, and a public very much unaware of the risks.
If you live in Charlotte or Winston-Salem, ask your councilors to support a ban on cruel animal acts.

Pennsylvania

ADI worked with Pennsylvania Senator Leach to draft and introduce SB248, to prohibit traveling wild & exotic animal acts. ADI has been honored to work with Senator Leach and his staff on the bill, reflecting increasing public recognition that these acts are both cruel and dangerous. We support Senator Alloway’s similar bill SB263. We’ve received positive feedback from both sides of the aisle, and now seek to get the bills heard at committee. We need your help to let these legislators know that Pennsylvania wants to end circus animal suffering!

If you live in Pennsylvania, contact your State Senator and Legislator and ask them to support SB248 and SB263:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
ADI advised Philadelphia’s City Council regarding the cruelty and risks of animal acts, including elephants featured there that were prohibited in Dallas over tuberculosis concerns. Philadelphia’s recent zebra escape cost local dollars and distracted police; it was Pennsylvania’s fourth incident, including a trainer killed by his tiger before 200 schoolchildren. Philadelphia is working on a local measure, but we need your outreach to let councilors know it’s time to end these acts.

If you live in Philadelphia, ask the City Council to prohibit cruel and unsafe circus animal acts

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
ADI is working with local advocates and has advised Pittsburgh’s City Council regarding the cruelty and risks of animal acts. We also provided extensive data and evidence, including that about the notorious Lacey family, after Alex Lacey had the audacity to declare at the committee meeting that he treats his cats ‘like family.’ For more on ADI’s investigations into the Lacey family, see this link. To see ADI’s letter outlining these issues to the Pittsburgh Council, see this link. We need your outreach to let councilors know it’s time to end these acts.

If you live in Pittsburgh, ask the City Council to prohibit cruel and unsafe circus animal acts

Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee
ADI has recently begun a new campaign working with local groups in Nashville to prohibit traveling animal acts. This is no life for animals; the reality is a one of severe confinement, deprivation, brutality, extensive transport, inconsistent oversight, and a public very much unaware of the risks.

If you live in Nashville, ask your Councilmember to support a ban on cruel animal acts.

Virginia

Fairfax County, Virginia
ADI is working with local campaigners to prohibit the use of wild animals in traveling acts coming to Fairfax County, Virginia. This is no life for animals; the reality is a one of severe confinement, deprivation, brutality, extensive transport, inconsistent oversight, and a public very much unaware of the risks.

If you live in Fairfax County, ask your Supervisor to support a ban on cruel animal acts.

© Animal Defenders International 2017