Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Federal bill to ban traveling wild animal acts brought to the Senate

Posted: 16 July 2019

Animal Defenders International has welcomed the introduction of a companion bill to the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA, HR2863) in the Senate. Sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), the bill and its counterpart seek to prohibit the use of wild animals in traveling circuses across the US.

Announcing the measure, Senator Menendez said: “Animals are living, breathing, and feeling beings that deserve to grow and thrive in their natural habitat or protected sanctuaries – not to be exploited to perform tricks in someone’s sideshow under cruel conditions.”

Referring to the fact that New Jersey was the first to introduce a similar statewide ban, in December 2018, Senator Booker said: “New Jersey has illustrated that the exploitative use of exotic animals in traveling performances is antiquated and no longer has a place in our society. By following in New Jersey’s footsteps, this bill would remove wild animals such as lions, tigers, and elephants from harsh conditions and provide protections for workers and the public.”

Reintroduced in Congress on May 21 by Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and David Schweikert (R-AZ), HR2863 currently has 32 cosponsors, as well as the support of celebrities and a coalition of over 20 US animal protection organizations. At the launch event organized by ADI – who has been calling for legislation to prohibit wild animal circus acts and supporting previous incarnations of TEAPSPA for many years – Rep. Grijalva noted that: “We have an opportunity to extend our sense of humanity to other species on this planet,” while Rep. Schweikert said: “It’s just the right thing to do.”

The US is behind many countries on this issue. More than 40 have already passed national prohibitions on the use of animals in circuses. Momentum is however building in the US, with 92 restrictions now in place in 32 states, and statewide wild animal circus bans now in both New Jersey and Hawaii, and under consideration in California.

ADI President Jan Creamer said: “America is taking a stand against the suffering of wild animals in circuses and with TEAPSPA now in both chambers of Congress, we have our best opportunity yet to stop these acts nationwide. Support TEAPSPA and help make it happen!”

Comprehensive research and investigations worldwide show that traveling wild animal acts unacceptably compromise public safety and animal welfare. Chronically stressed, large, and unpredictable wild animals often display behavioral abnormalities, and are a dangerous public safety hazard. Escaped animals have maimed and killed workers and members of the public, including children. ADI supports human-performance circuses, which are popular, provide employment, and stimulate the economy, without exposing citizens to stressed and abused animals.

ADI is currently helping the government in Guatemala enforce its national ban and has removed 21 lions and tigers from circuses – three of the tigers will be relocated to Big Cat Rescue in Florida, with the remaining animals going to the new ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa. The organization has undertaken similar rescue missions in Bolivia and Peru.

Media contact:
Lesley McCave, ADI Communications Director: (323) 935-2234/(323) 804-9920, or

© Animal Defenders International 2020