WASHINGTON—Today, Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) and David Schweikert (AZ-06) introduced the bipartisan Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA). The bill would amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit traveling circuses from holding exotic animals such as lions, tigers, and elephants in captivity. The legislation is narrowly targeted to address known public safety and animal welfare issues inherent to exotic and wild animal traveling acts. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
In December of 2018, New Jersey set precedent by becoming the first state in the nation to ban exotic animals in traveling shows. Since then, Hawaii and California have followed suit and several other states have introduced similar bills. In addition, there are already more than 100 municipalities with measures in place to support public safety and animal welfare by prohibiting exotic animal shows and nearly 50 countries around the world that have banned the outdated use of wild animals or all animals in traveling shows.
“As one of the original cosponsors of Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act, I’m proud to support this bipartisan, bicameral bill,” said Rep. Grijalva. “At its core, this legislation is simple. It’s about ending the inhumane practice of using exotic or wild creatures for entertainment in traveling circuses and other traveling acts. Traveling animal acts deprive exotic and wild animals of their basic dignity and create a safety hazard for the public. There’s nothing entertaining about seeing animals suffer and the vast majority of Americans agree. It’s past time we updated our antiquated animal welfare laws and prohibited traveling circuses from using exotic and wild animals for human entertainment.”
‘“I have a deep respect for our nation’s beautiful wild animals. However, subjecting these animals to inhumane treatment for our own entertainment is a thing of the past,” said Rep. Schweikert. “I’m proud to join in an effort to end dangerous traveling circus practices once and for all. This legislation will help educate the public and change the way our nation treats these incredible animals, providing them with the respect they have always deserved.”
“Abusing animals for the sake of so-called entertainment has no place in a 21st century America,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) “It is well-past time that Congress update our federal laws to stop the exploitation of wild animals and the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act is an excellent opportunity to do just that. I’m proud that New Jersey has led the nation on this issue but it’s time we pass federal legislation that ensures a nationwide ban on inhumane and barbaric animal acts.”
ADI President Jan Creamer said, “ADI has been honored to champion this important legislation, providing evidence, and working with the sponsors on the bill. Animals in traveling acts endure long periods of travel confined in small spaces, physical and social deprivation, and brutal, violent methods of control. It is time to put an end to this suffering in the United States!”
The Members joined a launch event of TEAPSPA organized by the Animal Defenders International. The event can be found here.
A full list of organizations endorsing TEAPSPA can be found here.
Cosponsors of TEAPSPA include Reps. David Schweikert (AZ-06), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11), Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04), Alan S. Lowenthal (CA-47), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Ann M. Kuster (NH-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC- AL), Kathleen M. Rice (NY-04), Janice D. Schakowsky (IL-09), James R. Langevin (RI-02), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02), Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Mark Takano (CA-41), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Karen Bass (CA-37), Brian K. Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), David Trone (MD-06), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. (GA-04), André Carson (IN-07), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), and Sara Jacobs (CA-53) .