The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act
With the passage of the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act,
Congress aims to amend the Animal Welfare Act to
restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses and traveling exhibitions.
Traveling circuses are detrimental to animal welfare because of the adverse effects of captivity and
transport. Due to severe confinement, lack of free exercise, and the restriction of natural behaviors,
animals used in traveling circuses suffer and are prone to health, behavioral, and psychological problems.
Careful research and detailed undercover investigations have shown the welfare of animals and safety
of the public is unacceptably compromised under the confinement and the daily brutality of life on
the road with a traveling circus. Law enforcement authorities have difficulty enforcing Federal animal
health, safety, and welfare laws, and violations. Due to the mobile and transitory nature of traveling
circuses, law enforcement cannot properly monitor the conditions of the animals or follow up on previous
infractions by the traveling circuses.
Congress has a responsibility to protect the welfare of animals and ensure public safety.
A prohibition on the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses is proportionate,
responsible, and the least expensive solution to this problem.
Reasons to support the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act
- Protects wild and exotic animals
- Prevents public safety hazard
- Saves taxpayer money
Please support and pass the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act,
the bill that will Break the Chain of circus suffering.
The Cost of Regulation
Monitoring of animal welfare and enforcement of regulations is expensive:
- The USDA inspected Carson & Barnes Circus 42 times from 2007 to 2010.
- The average cost per inspection was $1363 – a total cost of $57,246.
Although US records do not break down regulation costs specific to circuses,
worldwide statistics show licensing and inspections for animal circuses is costly.
In the UK, the Department of the Environment estimates that the annual cost
of inspecting the country’s 4 animal circuses (with just 30 animals) would be
$13,000 – $19,000. The cost in the United States is likely far greater
since the US land mass is almost 38 times that of the UK with approximately
six times as many circuses to inspect.
- For more information on the cost of regulation, please see our Economics Briefing.
Click here for a briefing with data on circuses in the United States today.
Click here for a briefing on prohibitions on the use of animals in circuses throughout the world.
How Circuses Cause Suffering:
- Insufficient Space
Animals are housed and transported in very small cages.
- Extended Periods Spent in Transport Vehicles
Even for short journeys, animals are often loaded long before, and unloaded long after.
- Lack of Exercise / Restriction of Natural Behaviors
Circuses lack the resources to allow animals to exercise normally or act naturally.
- Stress From Abnormal Conditions
Solitary animals get crowded together, predators and prey are housed in close proximity, and family members are separated.
- Physical Abuse
Most "tricks" are coerced through the use of bull hooks, electric prods, whips, metal bars, and methods most would view as torturous.
- Resulting Problems: Animals kept in circus conditions are prone to
severe health, behavioral, and psychological problems.
- Regulation Difficulties:
Studies show that the transient nature of traveling circuses present significant challenges to, and increase
the costs of, regulation and enforcement.
- Safety Concerns:
The extreme stress caused by the circus environment often makes wild animals highly dangerous, especially
with the public.
Deaths and injuries are becoming increasingly common.