Washington, DC – Bob Barker, host of “Price is Right” and Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va) joined with Animal Defenders International, and Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) today to introduce legislation to Congress to end the suffering and unacceptable conditions circus animals are forced to endure. The bill entitled Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act will restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses.
CSI actress Jorja Fox participated in the presentation. A video presentation introduced showed examples of the mistreatment, confinement, and unacceptable training procedures of circus animals who live their lives in cramped cages, are deprived of social behaviors with other animals, and who are beaten into submission by trainers using bullhooks, electric prods and whips.
The Bill addresses public health and safety, enforcement, captivity and transport, control and violence, and economics.
Elephant mistreatment in the circus has been documented and videotaped and released for public viewing by humane organizations. Baby elephants are “broken” and disciplined when they are very young with the use of sharp metal bull hooks, three-foot long clubs with sharp metal hooks at the end of them – used to beat, hit and poke. The babies are hit behind their ears, on their trunks and on their heads; the most sensitive areas on an elephant’s body.
Chains are used to confine them and are locked around their ankles. The elephants are chained to hard cement surfaces which causes painful foot problems, arthritis, and severe psychological stress because of the hours and hours they are restricted from moving more than a foot or two. Often elephants are seen swaying back and forth in a repetitive motion; just one symptom of extreme distress. When elephants are transported to different circus venues, they are chained in box cars – often with no water or food or daylight for more than eight-hours at a time.
There have been severe incidents of stressed animals killing their trainers as well as members of the public. In too many instances the stressed animals have been shot and killed.
Bob Barker, a humane activist has been instrumental in furthering the health, welfare and education of the plight of all animals. He continues to generously contribute both time and money and travels internationally to the aid of animals.
In a statement this morning on Congressman Moran’s news release, Barker stated:
“Americans are becoming increasingly aware that circus animals suffer from violent training techniques and severe confinement. Big wild animals should not be part of the traveling circus and simply put, animal acts in circuses are antiquated and belong in the past, in a time when humans were ignorant about the needs of the other species who share our planet.”
Congressman Jim Moran is the co-chairman of the bipartisan Animal Protection caucus and believes all animals deserve to be treated with dignity and live free from pain and suffering. In the 11th Congress, Moran sponsored the Fur Labeling Act which, if passes will stop the illegal sale of dog and cats fur from China.
Moran, an animal lover himself helped to pass the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act requiring communities to develop plans to care for pets during emergencies. He voted for the Restore Our American Mustangs Act, and co-sponsored the Animal Fighting Prohibition Act, making it a felony to transport animals across state lines for fighting, co-sponsored the Great Cats and Rare Candids Act and is a sponsor of the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act.
The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act(TEAPA) will not affect zoos, aquariums, or rodeos.