Animal Defenders International

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Animal Defenders International

Stop Circus Suffering Legislation

Posted: 26 February 2016. Updated: 23 May 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, 35 countries have banned the use of animals in traveling circuses; a few have banned all animal acts.

In the United States, momentum is building at the local, state, and federal level – but bills don’t move without constituent voices. ADI needs you 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 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 action there 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’s motion Council File: 16-1357– to draft an ordinance prohibiting the exhibition of wild or exotic animal for entertainment or amusement – passed unanimously. After the ordinance is drafted, it will face another review by the Council. ADI worked closely with the sponsor and is meeting in all council offices to answer questions and provide supporting evidence. ADI also attended various stakeholder meetings, in the months leading up to this week’s vote, and provided the City Attorney requested related legal authority. Let the council know you support this action.

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 worked with the Hawaiian Humane Society, HSUS, and local advocates - meeting with legislators, crafting language, and submitting evidence – in the efforts to ban 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

Illinois

ADI reached out to local advocates in IL, noting support for SB1342, but urging an amendment to protect all wild animals suffering in traveling shows. SB1342 unanimously passed the state Senate, and now heads to the House. ADI will continue to reach out in support of protections for all wild animals. The science is clear that all traveling wild animal acts are inherently inhumane and unsafe. Legislators in Illinois need to know that their constituents support broader protections.

If you live in Illinois, please contact your representative to urge them to support SB1342 with an amendment to protect ALL wild animals in circuses, and the safety of Illinois citizens of Maine, by banning all traveling wild and exotic animal acts.

Contact the IL House Rules Committee and your representative, and urge them to support an amendment to SB1342 to end traveling wild animal acts in Illinois.

Maine

ADI reached out to legislators in support of Maine’s LD396/HP287 which protects circus elephants, but also strongly urged such protections instead reflect current science, which makes clear that all wild animals suffer in traveling acts. ADI provided extensive data to ME legislators demonstrating that all traveling wild animal acts are inherently inhumane and unsafe. Legislators in Maine need to know that their constituents support broader protections.

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

Massachusetts

ADI worked closely with Senator Tarr and local advocates on S.490 – to prohibit cruel and dangerous traveling wild animal acts throughout the Commonwealth. S.490 was heard May 2nd, along with S1328/H295, bills which limit their protections to only one species – elephants. ADI reached out to legislators with substantial evidence demonstrating that all wild animals inherently suffer in this industry; however, there was much opposition from industry voices at the hearing, S490 must have your constituent voices of support to move. Nine MA localities have already passed ordinances that, like S.490, ban all traveling wild/exotic animal acts (Braintree, Cambridge, Plymouth, Pittsfield, Provincetown, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, and Weymouth).

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.

New Jersey

ADI has been working with local campaigners in NJ to introduce local and state measures to prohibit traveling wild animal acts. Senator Lesniak’s bill S2508 (Nosey’s Law) passed the Senate and went to the Assembly under Rep. Mukherji’s sponsorship (A4386). ADI has reached out to the sponsors and committee to provide evidence and make the case that all wild animals suffer in traveling acts. We were delighted to see Sen. Lesniak’s online commitment to amend the bill for all wild animals, noting ‘It’s the right thing.” We are encouraged by Assemblyman Raj Mukherji’s and Senator Lesniak’s reported commitment to broaden the bill, but 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, showing that NJ knows the way forward is 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 these local 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; this bill is essential to protect both animals and the public.

S00276 is joined in committee with other bills (S02098 /A00464) that limit their protections to one species – elephants. The science is clear – all wild animals inherently suffer in traveling shows.

Please take a stand for all wild animals - if you live in New York, please urge your Assembly Members and your Senator to support S00276 to end the suffering of all wild animals, and protect 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. 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’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

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
ADI worked with local advocates and advised Pittsburgh’s City Council regarding the cruelty and risks of traveling 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.

New York City

Kudos to New York City Councilwoman Mendez, whose proposed ordinance Int.1233 would prohibit the display of wild and exotic animals for public entertainment or amusement. Thanks to a strong push by numerous local advocates, especially Empire State Humane Voters, Int.1233 now has 26 cosponsors, a majority of the 51-member Council!

ADI was honored to work with CW Mendez’s office and the city attorney on proposed language, and to provide evidence and testimony supporting this necessary and humane action. Increasing cosponsorhip enables the aim for a vote this June ~ NYC voices are needed to make that happen. We urge all New Yorkers to join the call for cosponsorship and a vote to pass Int.1233.

It’s time for NYC to join other world-class cities like Barcelona, Bogotá, Rio, San Francisco, Singapore, and 35 diverse nations around the world that have acted in this regard.

In NYC, support CW Mendez’s Int.1233.

Los Angeles

ADI applauds the Los Angeles City Council’s unanimous approval of Councilmember David Ryu’s motion to instruct the City Attorney to craft an ordinance to prohibit the exhibition of wild or exotic animals for entertainment or amusement. The ordinance aims to protect wild animals from being used in circuses, other wild or exotic animal shows, and rentals for house parties.

ADI is honored to work with Councilmember Ryu and the City Attorney’s Office on this ground-breaking animal protection measure, which, when finalized, will make Los Angeles the largest city to pass such an ordinance.

Councilmember David Ryu stated: “Wild and exotic animals have a long history of being exploited for public and private entertainment. Treating animals in this manner has taught generations of people that it is okay to view wild and exotic animals as toys. It is time that the City of Los Angeles take action to make clear that exhibiting such animals in this way is no longer in line with our City’s values.”

ADI President Jan Creamer said: “Animal Defenders International is working closely with Councilmember Ryu’s office on this effort and we know how determined he is to protect wild animals and the public from these cruel and dangerous acts. ADI has repeatedly documented the suffering and abuse of wild animals in circuses. Circuses simply cannot meet the needs of wild animals in small, mobile accommodation. We applaud the Los Angeles City Council for taking this important step today to protect animals in entertainment.”

In LA, support CM Ryu’s ordinance to prohibit dangerous wild animal acts!

© Animal Defenders International 2017