Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the United States that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.
The measure, the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA), is set to be introduced Tuesday in the House of Representatives.
Sponsored by Arizona Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D) and David Schweikert (R), TEAPSA would amend the Animal Welfare Act by restricting the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses and other traveling performances. The animals are kept prisoner and subject to tortuous treatment in the name of entertainment.
"Confined, abused, and forced to perform, this is the sad reality of circus life for the animals," said TEAPSEA backer and actor Ed Asner in a statement. "The suffering never, ever stops, until they die. Let's finally say 'no' to these horror shows and 'yes' to TEAPSPA!"
The legislation is championed by Animal Defenders International, which has exposed cruelty by handlers in traveling acts and has advocated to secure wild animals' freedom.
LEO WAS BORN IN A CIRCUS CAGE IN PERU. He circles, pushes his face into the leaves, rubs his face on the trunk, then goes on his way. He was rescued by ADI as we enforced a ban on wild animals in circuses. IF IT CAN HAPPEN IN PERU, IT CAN HAPPEN IN THE US! https://t.co/XDdPzmL7X1 pic.twitter.com/HS8MqIPnBE
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— ADI (@AnimalDefenders) May 16, 2019
"Animals have their spirits broken, beaten out of them, in order to entertain humans in circuses," said actor and director Ricky Gervais. "It is heartbreakingly cruel and humiliating; it belongs to our ignorant past."
"TEAPSPA," Gervais added, "will bring an end to this suffering."