Moran Introduces Act To Restrict Circuses From Using Wild Animals

Congressman says conditions are cruel.

The lives of wild animals in traveling circuses may change forever.  U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA 8th) joined TV host Bob Barker and CSI actor Jorja Fox on Wednesday to introduce the "Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act".

The legislation would end an undetermined period of time that these animals live in temporary traveling circus conditions and doesn't impact zoos, aquariums, rodeos or other static facilities with captive wildlife.   

"Keeping elephants in chains, confining lions and tigers in small cages, forcing them to perform unnatural tricks for the sole purpose of human amusement is increasingly difficult to justify the more we learn about these intelligent, social creatures,” Moran said. "Based upon publicly available research, including video and photographic evidence, it is clear that traveling circuses cannot provide the proper living conditions for exotic animals. This legislation is intended to target the most egregious situations involving exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses." 

Barker is the former TV host of The Price Is Right.

“Americans are becoming increasingly aware that circus animals suffer from violent training techniques and severe confinement,” he said. “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. 

There are about 16 major circuses in the U.S., many of which own hundreds of animals. In April, a protest was organized at George Mason University against the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. "Animals belong in their native habitats, not in the circus," said a blog organizing the protest. "Numerous circuses use animals such as elephants, tigers, horses, and zebras. These animals are caged, routinely beaten to incentivize their performance of tricks, and suffer both mentally and physically during their captivity in the circus. The only reason animals are used in circuses is for profit. Their captivity does not educate children about animals. Rather, it sends a message that animal abuse and captivity is acceptable." 

According to a 2009 ADI report "Animals in Traveling Circuses - The Science of Suffering": "No one is saying ‘end circuses.’ Rather, let’s take animals out of circuses and let humans do the entertaining. This has economic benefits; ADI has found that as animal circuses close, the trend is that animal-free circuses replace them. The circus industry can still thrive and even increase overall attendance without the stigma of animal suffering."

Findings from Animal Defenders International: 

  • Horses and ponies spend up to 96 percent of their time tied with short ropes in stalls, or tethered to trailers.
  • Time in the ring, allowing them to run, is limited.
  • Tigers and lions spend between 75 and 99 percent of their time in severely cramped cages on the backs of trailers. 
  • Elephants spend 58 to 98 percent of their time chained by at least one leg, and generally both a front and hindleg. The circus norm is to chain elephants overnight, either in tents or trailers. Elephant enclosures with circuses are inadequate, and the regime of chaining, being prepared for the show, performing and giving rides means time in them is limited. 
  • Animals in circuses suffer poor animal welfare and long, arduous journeys. Extended periods being tied up, chained, or caged results in abnormal behaviors that indicate these animals are suffering as a result of the environmentally impoverished, inappropriate conditions in which they live. 

Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, issued this statement: 

"Our repeated efforts to meet with Representative Moran were ignored, which is particularly unfortunate given that our corporate headquarters is located in his Congressional District. He preferred to serve entities that are not within his jurisdiction and even foreign to this country rather than listen to the people he was elected to represent in his own District." said Tom Albert, Vice President of Government Relations for Feld Entertainment, Ringling Bros. parent company.  "Indeed, this bill will do nothing to improve the care of any animal and represents an attempt to outlaw protected artistic expression of a centuries-old art form. Our company lawfully operates and provides quality family entertainment throughout the United States. It is one of the few live shows left that a family can attend for the same price as the cost of the movies." 

The Convict November 04, 2011 at 12:14 AM
Now if this isn't a clownish statement if ever I saw one. So, you're doubting the feasibility of the Silver line? I've got news for you, Robbie, but Metro has lots of working trains already. I'm sure that when they finish, we'll have a working train to Reston from DC.
Ellen November 04, 2011 at 12:18 AM
WOW!! What anger!! What is wrong with protecting fetuses!
Ohio November 05, 2011 at 03:19 AM
*Laughing* Your right Convict, I must hate every inspector that ever lived, and of course I don't think there is a need for them at all, because you know, I am an idiot right? It's an easy place to go my friend, propaganda is an art form practiced daily on the American people and completely effective. I stick by what I say Convict. Tomorrow Moran is still a Politician hanging out with Bob Barker because the price is right. The money he spends is your money and mine, and I don't mind handing it over for safe meat and good roads to drive on safely, but I honestly have a hard time believing circus animals are currently such a threat to our nation that we should let Moran fork over our cash to deal with the issue. And, as Rob knows, toll increases "are," a rip off "for us," If you can't sit down and budget the entirety of a project from beginning to end and get it right then somethings wrong. Why do tolls stay in place after the project they were funding is finished? Right, because they bring in revenue, and anyone can find a way to justify it if they want to keep the money bad enough, especially someone like Moran. A working train doesn't make it a feasible train line for the consumer. Once your done paying for peak times both ways, and to park your car for the day, five work days a week for a month, it's cheaper to drive yourself to work, even with the elevated price of gasoline per mile, per gallon. Do the math? I have...feasible for who? Me? You? I don't think so....
jusin November 08, 2011 at 01:23 AM
Ill be totally honest I have been a devoted fan of ringing bros since I was a baby..it gives me great pride to know I grew up watching these elephants grow as well I have always looked for signs off and on show and I can tell you these are rumors just a sham because we all know captive animals both in circuses and zoo's wouldn't survive in the wild they know what they were tought and you know that as well any animal activist should agree but ripping them from their only known lives will not help them and captive animals live longer. Ringling has won several cases passed several aspca inspections with 100% nothing wrong. You all don't understand that peta has done crucial things to animals but you choose to not take the real problem out typical, I just don't understand why people attack the circus because for years and years since the begining the circus has been entied with animals acts..and nobody not a soul said anything about that. So this is history what's a circus without animals? Its a shame that we can't leave this alone and worry about the real problems in the world..like helping the animals in the wild..not the animals here living healthy life not having to worry about a habitat food and water..call me a fool but a fool who loves and believes in his word. The circus and the animals are my home away from home without them I'm lost..
Ellen November 08, 2011 at 01:26 PM
Thank you for the reasonable comment.


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