SAN ANDREAS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Measures that could see an end to elephants, lions, tigers, monkeys and bears touring with circuses were unveiled today at a press conference on Capitol Hill attended by the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Congressmen Jim Moran, along with Bob Barker, CSI's Jorga Fox, and Animal Defenders International (ADI).
The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA), introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), will restrict the use of exotic and non-domesticated animals in traveling circuses and exhibitions.
PAWS and ADI believe this legislation will signal fundamental changes in the way in which animals are used in the name of entertainment in the United States.
Since PAWS' founding in 1984, and after more than 25 years of rescuing, medicating and rehabilitating animal victims of circuses, PAWS is proud to support this restriction on the cruel and unnecessary use of captive wildlife. This legislation offers a relief to the thousands of animals who suffer in traveling shows.
“Knowing there might be an end to the constant stream of animals who are no longer useful or profitable to an industry that really doesn't need them, is encouraging,” said PAWS President, Pat Derby.
"Bob Barker and PAWS have advocated for performing animals for many years," PAWS cofounder, Ed Stewart continued. "We have witnessed the conditions in which they live, and the physical and psychological damage they endure. Mr. Barker has personally funded the peaceful retirement of numerous ex-circus animals to sanctuaries. It is time that we, as a civilized nation, stop the frivolous use of exotic animals in demeaning performances. The show must not go on!"
PAWS operates the largest captive wildlife sanctuary in the United States, and is the only sanctuary able to house bull elephants. Three of PAWS’ elephants, Gypsy, Wanda, and Nicholas, were traveling circus elephants. Four lions at the PAWS sanctuary were rescued by ADI when Bolivia put a protection ban on traveling circus animals.
“The cost to the United States government to confiscate exotic animals from negligent traveling show companies has been staggering," said Stewart. "The USDA inspected Carson & Barnes Circus 42 times between 2007 and 2010. The average cost per inspection was $1,363, for a total cost of $57,246 to taxpayers. Clearly, this initiative will protect captive wildlife, and be a cost-saving law for the government agencies responsible for protecting them."
Many countries, including Austria, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Finland, Singapore and Sweden have already banned wild animals from traveling shows, and others, like the United Kingdom, are right now considering such bans.
PAWS, the nation's first elephant sanctuary.
Founded in 1984, PAWS operates three captive wildlife sanctuaries in Northern California, providing lifetime care for more than 100 exotic animals. Having worked inside the performing animal industry, and now specializing in the care of abused, abandoned or retired performing animals, PAWS founders, Pat Derby and Ed Stewart, are acknowledged experts on the impact traveling life has on these animals and the suffering they endure in the name of entertainment. Pat and Ed provide expert testimony in criminal and agency investigations and also provide expertise to wildlife agencies, Congress, State Legislatures, and city and county hearings across the United States. Visit our website for more information. More than 100 PAWS videos are currently available on our YouTube channel, or www.pawsweb.org.