Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey, the oldest circus in the USA definitely closed its final curtain in May 2017 after 146 years of shows.
Source: Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey
For some time now criticism has been growing regarding the use of wild animals in American circuses, leading to the proposal of a law to ban the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses.Two men from opposing ends of the political spectrum are at the heart of this initiative: Ryan Costello, elected Republican in Pennsylvania, and RaulGrijalva, elected Democrat in Arizona.
Source: Stephanie Sinclair
Their proposedTraveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act would put an end to the use of these animals for public entertainment, allowing them to return to their natural habitats and not perform unnatural stunts.
Source: Emmanuel Dunand
Ryan Costelloexplainshis motivation for this bill:
I don’t think that those practices have any place in the fabric of our society.
This proposed law would be the first of its kind and an important step for animal rights. Similar bills have been proposed to congress in the past, but have never succeeded.However, public opinion is on the side of this law as people have become much more willing to publicly criticize the use of wild animals in circuses and this transformation has not gone unnoticed. Notably, an aquarium in Baltimore decided to move its dolphins to a sanctuary, where they can live the rest of their lives in peace.
Source: Animal Defenders International
However, opinions in Washington are conflicting. The Cavalry Group, who opposes all regulation on the use of animals, exotic or otherwise, argues that this law "would deprive countless Americans [of] the ability to experience endangered animals up close, such as elephants and tigers."
34 countries have already banned the use of animals in circuses, following the initial move in Belgium. Some American cities have already made this bold decision, including Los Angeles.Numerous studies have been conducted on the effects on animals of being used in circuses which show that these highly intelligent creatures are seriously damaged by lives in captivity. The shows that they are forced to perform in require unnatural behavior and stunts, which cause physical and psychological problems.More and more cities and states are starting to see the cruelty that often leads up to these spectacles, and animal lovers can only hope that these trends continue, so that we can leave wild animal circuses in the past.If you would like to contribute to helping circus animals escape this life of misery, you can donate to organizations likePerforming Animal Welfare Society, who work to offer exploited, wild animals better-living conditions.
H/t: Boston Globe / Cover photo: Valéry Hache - AFP
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