Posted: 26 February 2016. Updated: 27 January 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)
Representative Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA), to amend the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses and traveling performances. The bill will be reintroduced again in the 115th Congress.
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 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.
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 an ordinance designed to curb exotic animals used at parties and for photo props in public spaces. Urge him and the Personnel and Animal Welfare (PAW) Committee to include suffering circus animals to this measure.
If you live in Los Angeles, contact the members of the PAW committee, politely thank them for working to protect exotic animals brought to public spaces or private parties in Los Angeles, and remind them how important it is to the animal protection community that they also include exotic and wild animals abused in the circus.
Councilmember Paul Koretz, Chair
Councilmember David Ryu
Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson
Hawaii is poised to be the first state to ban wild animal acts! ADI applauds Hawaii Governor David Ige and the Hawaii Board of Agriculture, who approved a proposal to prohibit the import of certain “dangerous wild animals” for exhibition and performance. The proposal must clear one more committee and will then be sent out for public comment.
If you live in Hawaii, submit comments to the Hawaii Board of Agriculture:
Thank Gov. Ige for his pledge to end wild animal imports, and urge the Board of Agriculture to finalize the rule to prohibit wild animal imports for entertainment.
Address to: Chairman Scott Enright and Hawaii Board of Agriculture Members
The Department of Agriculture 1
428 South King St.,
Honolulu, HI 96814 2512
ADI is now working with both houses in Massachusetts to introduce a state bill to prohibit traveling wild animal acts. There are nine Massachusetts localities that have already done so, and we applaud Senator Tarr and Representative Mirra for their commitment to protect animals with this statewide measure.
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!
ADI is working with local campaigners in NJ to introduce a state measure to prohibit traveling wild animal acts. When we first met with Senator Lesniak in 2014, he was very supportive of the bill, but needed to hear that this issue mattered to his constituents. Very recently, Senator Lesniak’s bill to ban elephants (only) in circuses (“Nosey’s Law”) passed committee. ADI supports the measure, but urges a necessary amendment to include ALL wild animals suffering in circuses. Senator Lesniak recently hinted he might be open to expand the current effort as previously discussed. 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.
Bergen County and Jersey City, New Jersey
Kudos to Bergen County and Jersey City, 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. ADI applauds Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop for his dedication to this issue. This is no life for these animals; the reality is a one of severe confinement, deprivation, brutality, extensive transport, inconsistent oversight, and a public very much unaware of the risks. Kudos to Bergen County and Jersey City!
ADI is working in support of Assembly Member Paulin’s bill (A1405) to prohibit the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows. The New York City Bar Animal Law Committee has reviewed and approved the legislation (and TEAPA!), and we have received positive feedback from legislators. ADI applauds the NY state senate’s unanimous passage (62-0!) of Senator Murphy’s Elephant Protection Act on June 16th. The bill now goes to the NY Assembly’s Agriculture Committee, where it will sit alongside A1405. ADI urges your support for all wild animals suffering in circuses - ask for an amendment to Senator Murphy’s Elephant Protection Act to include all wild animals, and support Assemblymember Paulin’s A1405, which seeks to protect all wild animals against circus suffering.
All animals suffer in traveling performances, for the same reasons cited in this bill to protect elephants, including that it is “widely recognized” animals “suffer physical and psychological harm due to the living conditions and treatment to which they are subjected,” “trained with cruel techniques,” forced to “live in conditions that are in no way similar to their natural habitat, including an unnatural diet, restricted movement, inappropriate housing and a hostile climate,” under the guise of pseudo-entertainment which “provides a false and inaccurate educational experience” with “tricks that are never executed by elephants in the wild and that are stressful or harmful to the animal.”
Help ADI end the suffering. In NY, support Senator Murphy’s Elephant Protection Act (S7805-A10171), with an amendment to include all wild animals, and support Assemblymember Paulin’s A1405 which bans all wild animal performances: http://nyassembly.gov/mem/
NYC Councilwoman and animal champion Rosie Mendez is sponsoring Intro 1233, a bill to prohibit the display of wild or exotic animals for circuses and public entertainment.
This effort has been years in the making and finally NYC Council is discussing this momentous legislation in the Council’s Committee on Health. ADI has worked closely with Councilmember Mendez and her staff over the years and we know how determined she is to protect these wild animals and the public when the circus comes to NYC.
If you live in New York City, contact the NYC Council and politely ask them to support Intro 1233, which will protect New Yorkers and wild animals when the circus comes to town by banning wild animals from circuses and other public entertainment.
More information can be found at our Stop Circus Suffering website here
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
US Proposals in preparation for CoP17
ADI recently urged USFWS to consider the particularly US contribution of trophy hunting upon wild populations. The evidence shows trophy hunting’s claimed benefits are inflated, bear little connection to actual conservation, and don’t come close to those derived through non-consumptive tourism, which provides local communities lasting economic benefit and incentivizes conservation.
Find out more on ADI conservation campaigns
Permit request for the import of 18 wild elephants to US zoos
USFWS failed 18 wild elephants by permitting their capture and import to US zoos, citing Swaziland’s threat to otherwise kill the elephants. ADI joined numerous scientists, conservationists, and welfare and policy experts against the unethical strong arm permit approvals and dubious claims of “overpopulation” threatening other species. No serious efforts were made to keep the elephants in Africa where they belong. They deserve better.
Email the USFWS or call 1-800-344-WILD
Rulemaking related to “predator control” on public lands
ADI recently commented in support of USFWS rulemaking to reign in Alaskan predator hunting practices, including trapping and aerial hunting. ADI underscored its opposition to hunting, trapping, baiting, snaring, or killing of any animal, noting the cruelty of such practices and the import of natural predator-prey relationships.
Email the USFWS or call 1-800-344-WILD
Proposed Rulemaking regarding Marine Mammals
ADI weighed in on the USDA new rulemaking for marine mammals. Despite mounting evidence, USDA proposes no species prohibitions or increased space requirements (which haven’t changed since 1984). Citing industry “burden,” certain proposals lessen requirements and allow longer interactive (swim-with-dolphin) programs, despite their impact and horrific wild-capture.
Petition to ban public contact with big cats, bears, and nonhuman primates.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Animal Welfare Act. ADI submitted comments today, citing longstanding enforcement issues and supporting a petition to prohibit public contact with bears, nonhuman primates, and big cats.Wild animals are inherently unsuitable for public contact. They are not toys for entertainment, but have an independent right to live in peace. It’s their earth too.
Ask the US Administration to celebrate the Animal Welfare Act’s 50th birthday by updating the law (for the first time in years) and by comprehensively assessing and addressing chronic enforcement issues to protect animals.
STOP THE PRIMATE IMPORTS! Hendry County, Florida
ADI’s investigation into monkey breeding and supply company, Biodia in Mauritius and Spain led a trail to Hendry County, Florida, where the notorious monkey supplier has plans to send thousands of monkeys to a new facility to supply the US primate laboratories.
Read more about ADI’s investigation of the Mauritian primate trade & find out how you can take action
Hendry County is now an epicenter for US primate breeding, despite opposition. ADI reached out to state and national legislators, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Hendry County Commissioners, the city of LaBelle, and stakeholders in opposition to this cruel industry, whose horrors are evident in one ADI investigation of a Mauritius breeding farm.
ADI is working with local campaigners to oppose the keeping of several white tigers in bare concrete cells at the Houston Aquarium. Unlike wild tigers whose home ranges approach 300 square miles, these tigers never go outside. White tigers are inbred and can suffer abnormal, debilitating, even lethal conditions.
Stand up for tigers in Texas:
Houston Aquarium: (713) 223-3474
Email Landry’s Restaurants (which owns and operates the aquarium)
(800) 552-6379 or (713) 850-1010
Big Cat and Public Safety Protection Act
ADI supports HR3546 to prohibit private possession/breeding of lions, tigers, leopards, snow leopards, clouded leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, cougars, and their hybrids. In 20 years, there have reportedly been 22 human deaths, 144 cat deaths, 248 maulings, and 260 escapes related to these species. Captive breeding negatively impacts wild populations.
Captive Primate Safety Act
ADI supports HR2920 to prohibit the import, export, transport, sale, receipt, acquisition, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce of primates. Primates share our love of life and suffer the travails of life on earth as we do. Primates aren’t just our mates - they’re part of the family.
END Wildlife Trafficking Act
President Obama signed bill S.2385, the END Wildlife Trafficking Act, introduced by Senators Coons and Flake, into law in Oct. 2016. S.2385 includes targeted goals to battle wildlife trafficking and, appropriately, does not exempt trophy hunting. Just prior to its introduction, ADI reached out to their committee to oppose the trophy hunting exemption added (after Cecil’s death) to the Global Anti-Poaching Act. To hold any credibility in the fight against wildlife trafficking, the US cannot ignore its role as the world’s largest trophy importer. ADI also attended CoP17 in South Africa, to advocate against wildlife trafficking and trophy hunting.
Global Anti-Poaching Act
ADI initially supported this bill, until its House amendment exempted trophy hunting. ADI then reached out in opposition to the Senate committee receiving the bill. Afterwards, two committee members introduced the END Wildlife Trafficking Act, a similar bill without the exemption. Kudos to those recognizing the impact of trophy hunting.
Humane Cosmetics Act
ADI supports the Humane Cosmetics Act (HR2858), to prohibit animal testing for cosmetics. ADI worked with NAVS for decades on the successful EU cosmetics ban. Let’s bring the US in line with public opinion and 30 countries who’ve banned cruel and needless testing.
Orca Responsibility and Care Advancement (ORCA) Act of 2015
ADI supports the ORCA Act (HR4019), which seeks to prohibit the import, export, and taking of orcas and orca products, and to prohibit breeding for exhibition. Orcas swim >100 miles/day, easily diving >600feet – they belong in the wild, not some tiny tank. ADI applauds California passing Senator Bloom’s state version (AB2140), which the governor signed into law in September!
Rare Cats and Canids Act
ADI supports the Rare Cats and Canids Act (HR2697), which proposes a fund to support in-country conservation programs for rare cats and canids. The best conservation starts at home.
Sanctuary Regulatory Fairness Act
ADI supports the Sanctuary Regulatory Fairness Act (S1898/HR3294), to allow rescued primate import to certified US sanctuaries. Currently, primates may be imported for science, education, or exhibition, but not to rehome rescues in an appropriate sanctuary. Help provide primates new lives in reputable US sanctuaries.
Sportsmen’s Heritage & Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act
Grand Canyon Bison Management Act
ADI opposes the SHARE Act (HR2406), which expands trophy hunting/trapping, and the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act (S.782/HR1443), mandating a bison cull. These bills ignore sound wildlife practice and opposition by the Department of Interior and non-consumptive users, who comprise 85% of US wildlife recreationists. This year, the SHARE Act was inserted into a massive Energy bill, and risks passage hidden there, among its hundreds of pages.
In the US, oppose the:
SHARE Act (HR2406) sponsored by Rep. Wittman
Grand Canyon Bison Management Act (HR1443 (now part of the SHARE Act)/ S.782 sponsored by Rep. Gosar, Sen. McCain, Sen. Flake.