Wild Animals Shouldn't Still be Suffering in Circuses: It's Time to Ban Them in the U.S.

While countries around the world have acted to stop circus suffering by closing their doors to circuses and exhibitions using wild animals performers, there's now renewed hope the U.S. could be one of the next to join them with the reintroduction of federal legislation that would ban them across the country.

This week Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva and David Schweikert have introduced the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA), which would amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to prohibit traveling circuses and exhibitions from keeping a number of wild animals, including lions, tigers, and elephants.

While wild animals have been used in circuses for decades, we now know so much more about what they need to be physically and psychologically healthy and the evidence shows that traveling circuses can never meet these needs.

Sadly, numerous species continue to be subjected to lives of confinement, where they're denied everything they need to thrive, and forced to perform unnatural and uncomfortable tricks – all for nothing more than our fleeting amusement.

Despite defenses of their continued use, research, multiple undercover investigations and media reports have all exposed not only the problems inherent with using wild animals as performers in circuses, but also the heartbreaking abuses they're subjected to both behind the scenes, and right out in the open.

Worryingly, not only does their use raise serious concerns about their welfare, it also puts our safety at risk. There have been numerous serious incidents involving the deaths of animals and trainers, and injuries to members of the public.

Thankfully people have continued to turn against this type of exploitation, and cities and states across the country have passed a number of bans and restrictions on animal performances.

While those victories are something to celebrate, supporters of this bill argue that this issue needs to be addressed on the federal level because the mobile nature of circuses makes it difficult for law enforcement and inspectors to follow up on troubling incidents and violations of the AWA. This leaves them virtually incapable of doing anything meaningful to ensure the well-being of animals, or our safety.

Please sign and share this petition urging Congress to protect wild animals and us by passing this historic piece of legislation.

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