A bill that bans the use of wild and exotic animals in travelling circuses was recently introduced to Congress. The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSP) aims to amend the Animal Welfare Act to include wording that restricts people from using wild or exotic animals in travelling performances. Arizona Representatives Raúl Grijalva and David Schweikert sponsored the bill along with Jan Creamer, founder and president of Animal Defenders International (ADI). The group believes that ending traveling wild animal acts is the only practical approach to protecting public safety and tackling the animal suffering inherent in the industry. Celebrity supporters of the bill include actors Kal Penn, Joaquin Phoenix, and Rachel Bloom. “Evidence and studies over the past 20 years makes it clear that, even with the best of intentions, traveling circuses simply cannot provide wild and exotic animals with the facilities they need to maintain health and welfare,” ADI wrote in a brief to Congress. “There is no conclusive evidence that animals in circuses habituate to travel, and the stress of constant travel can be exhibited in ways that are not immediately apparent.” The bipartisan bill is expected to receive widespread public support, as 92 jurisdictions across 32 states have already banned or restricted the use of wild animals in traveling shows. Around the world, 45 cities and countries have banned wild animal acts, including the United Kingdom, Italy, India, Madrid, and Warsaw.
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