Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

California bans fur and animal circus acts!

Posted: 15 October 2019

In a historic move, California has become the first US state to ban the sale and manufacture of fur, and the third, after New Jersey and Hawaii, to ban animal circus acts. Governor Newsom signed both pieces of legislation into law today.

Speaking after the signing of both AB44 and SB313, ADI President Jan Creamer said: “We congratulate California for adopting these historic bans and saying no to cruel practices. California is leading the way on a number of animal protection issues and we are delighted to see these important measures passed. Having spent years documenting the suffering and abuse of animals in US circuses and on fur farms, ADI urges other states to follow suit.”

Sponsored by Assemblymember Laura Friedman and championed by Animal Defenders International (ADI), AB44, the fur products prohibition bill, will come into effect on January 1, 2023. The ban follows the recent passing of AB273, sponsored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, which bans fur trapping and the sale of raw fur throughout the state. ADI provided data and testimony in support of both bills.

“Thanks to the painstaking work of animal welfare advocates and the conviction of my colleagues in the legislature, California has continued our legacy as a world leader on animal welfare issues,” said Assemblymember Laura Friedman.

Fur bans are already in place in San Francisco, Berkeley, West Hollywood, and Los Angeles in the state. At least 18 countries have passed laws that prohibit or restrict the farming of animals for their fur. A growing number of designers and fashion brands are going fur free including global brands such as Burberry, Gucci, and Michael Kors.

Worldwide every year more than 110 million animals are killed on fur farms, with over 16 million trapped in the wild for their fur. Intensively farmed in barren, cramped, filthy conditions, animals reared and killed for their fur are deprived of their natural lives. The lifelong stress, deprivation, and extreme confinement cause both psychological and physical damage.

The US is one of the largest importers of fur from Poland, where an ADI investigation captured a rare insight into the industry. The short film “A LIFETIME” documents the lives of two sibling foxes who were born on a fur farm then killed at the age of seven months; while “NEVER HUMANE” demolishes fur industry claims that killing on fur farms is quick, efficient, and humane.

SB313, the Circus Cruelty Prevention Act, sponsored by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), bans the use of almost all animals in circuses, domestic dogs, cats and horses excluded. ADI has worked for years with California legislative counsel to submit language to prohibit the use of animals in circuses and worked with local advocates and Senator Hueso to advance the legislation, providing data and testimony in support of SB313.

Studies of the use of animals in traveling acts show that the physical or behavioral needs of animals cannot be met. Animals are confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time shut in transporters. These animals are often seen behaving abnormally; rocking, swaying and pacing, all indicating that they are in distress and not coping with their environment. ADI’s video evidence has shown how these animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear and intimidation.

Similar measures are under consideration in a number of other states including Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, while a federal bill to end the use of wild animals in traveling shows nationwide – the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA, HR2863/S2121) - is gaining bipartisan support and is backed by ADI and more than 20 animal protection organizations. To date, 95 jurisdictions in 32 states have taken action to restrict animals from traveling circuses.

ADI’s Stop Circus Suffering USA campaign is supported by celebrities including Kal Penn, Jorja Fox, Ed Asner, James Cromwell, Ricky Gervais, Joaquin Phoenix, and Bob Barker. Proving that attitudes are changing with the times, American audiences have been turning away from animal circuses in droves; several have closed, while others have gone animal-free and thrived.

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

Angie Greenaway, 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

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