On May 21, 2019, Arizona representatives Raúl Grijalva and David Schweikert reintroduced the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA). This bill would amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the use of exotic or wild animals in traveling animal performances.
People have used exotic animals as entertainers for human enjoyment since the early 1900s. Research and investigation have provided clear evidence of compromised animal welfare and public safety. Animals used in traveling shows are withheld of the care and freedom they deserve, jeopardizing their physical and mental health. The animals frequently move around for 11 months of the year with little time to exercise. They have limited to small, confined areas unable to move around. Furthermore, when they are not in small cages, they are ‘training’ and performing. Under these conditions, wild instincts emerge, and the animals are mistreated and punished.
Traveling shows that use wild animals are a danger to the animals. They also create significant safety concerns for the general public. Traveling animal performances use collapsible, temporary facilities, which increases the risk of escape and severe harm to every party involved. They present extreme safety risks by allowing contact and displaying animals in an inappropriate and dangerous closeness to humans.
Forty-five nations around the world have prohibited wild animal performances. Across 32 states in the US, 92 jurisdictions have banned or restricted wild animals’ use in traveling shows. Two states have entirely banned traveling animal acts; they are New Jersey and Hawaii.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Contact your state’s representatives and encourage them to support the bill. According to the president of Animal Defenders International, Jan Creamer, the bill needs 100-150 cosponsors in Congress. Send your representative a letter by following this link. Finally, avoid going to traveling animal shows. If you want to go to a circus, animal-free circuses are around.