Monday, March 19, 2012

This show must NOT go on

Exotic and wild animals in circuses – that’s bad enough. But those same animals forced to travel the country in squalid and cruel conditions – that’s too much. Please call, fax or email your Congressional representative tomorrow -- Tuesday, March 20 -- and help save wild animals from the traveling circus life, an awful life for all involved.

The Performing Animal Welfare Society (or PAWS, is working with Animal Defenders International (ADI) to mount a mass broad-based support campaign, declaring, “The show must not go on!” We can help toward that goal by urging legislators in the House of Representatives to act positively on H.R. 3359, the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA).

This life-saving bill is in the Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives – reports PAWS, describing it as “the committee where most animal protection laws are assigned, and all too often, die.” Unless we act tomorrow, that bill may never make it out of committee.

According to the PAWS website, “Traveling circuses cause suffering to exotic and wild animals," as follows:

* Limited space. The animals' living spaces are always small and the animals’ ability to move around is severely restricted.

* Extended hours inside vehicles. Not only are circus animals forced to travel great distances, but they must also be loaded well before the circus is packed to travel to the next location. The animals must then wait in their vehicles while the circus is set up, before they can be unloaded. Set up time can take as long as 24 hours, even on short journeys.

* Lack of free exercise and restriction of natural behaviors. Circuses may pitch their show in any spot they can find – on roadsides, in fields, on a concrete parking lot. The animals’ needs are not taken into consideration.

* Stress from abnormal conditions. Solitary animals are housed alongside other animals; prey species are kept in sight of predators; family group animals are isolated. Any of these circumstances can cause psychological suffering, and sometimes even insanity.

* The tricks these animals are forced to perform require extreme physical coercion and violence, including the restriction of food and/or water, use of bull hooks, stun guns and other electric shock devices, as well as metal bars, whips, and intimidation.

These conditions cause the animals to be prone to health, behavioral and psychological problems. The extreme levels of stress that circus animals endure can make an already dangerous animal even more dangerous, a scary thought when you consider their close proximity to the public. These situations have resulted in human injuries and even deaths.

Please call, fax or email your Congressional rep tomorrow. Support H.R. 3359!

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