Contact Congress

Tell Your Congressional Representative to Support Federal Legislation to Protect Wild Animals in Circuses!

With the new Congress in place, we will be re-introducing The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act this year. Thanks to our working during last Congress, we now have a stronger base to start applying pressure on the new Congress to act on the suffering of circus animals.

While we wait for the new bill, you can still contact your Member of Congress and ask them to support legislation to end the use of wild animals in traveling circuses!

Pick up the phone, or put pen to paper, or fire off an email today.  Keep your message concise and polite but stress that action is needed from Congress – please see sample letters and details of points to make below.

If you want to write your own letter please scroll down to find sample letters and talking points to use as a guide, but don’t hesitate to speak from your heart and put the letter into your own words which will make a stronger appeal. And remember, only thoughtful, polite messages will have the impact the animals need.  Contact your Congressional representatives via the US House of Representatives Directory and the US Senate’s List of Senators.

Calls and emails are to Congress members D.C. offices will have the immediate impact the animals need, but please follow up with a letter mailed to their district offices, not in D.C. as all mail going to the Capitol gets irradiated and therefore is not as likely to get their attention.

Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Representative’s office.

We want to hear from you! Please share your email and letter with us and let us know when you receive a response from your Congressperson.

Never before has it been more important to contact congress for protections for animals in entertainment. Please do not put this off or you might forget and miss out on an opportunity to make a difference!

Talking points for constituent calls, emails and letters to Congress

  • As a constituent, I am asking you to support federal legislation to protect wild animals in circuses.
  • There is a growing public concern about the treatment of wild and exotic animals abused in traveling circuses, as evidenced by thousands of letters generated to the USDA, Congress, and the President. Americans are becoming increasingly aware that circus animals suffer from violent training techniques and severe confinement which are unavoidable due to the constraints of constant travel on the road.
  • Animal Welfare
    • Traveling circuses cannot meet the physical, psychological or behavioral needs of wild animals, due to severe confinement, physical and social deprivation, long periods of time in transporters, with brutal control methods and physical violence.
    • Animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear, intimidation, emotional deprivation and withholding of food and/or water. 
  • Public Health and Safety
    • Keeping stressed, large and dangerous wild animals close to the public in lightweight, temporary enclosures has proven disastrous. Workers and members of the public have been killed and maimed; lions, tigers and elephants have all escaped.
    • It is estimated that around 12% of Asian and 2% of African elephants in North America have tuberculosis (TB), a disease transmissible from elephants to humans. 
  • Enforcement
    • Enforcement of animal welfare legislation and local ordinances is fraught with difficulties due to the transient nature of traveling circuses. By the time evidence is gathered and prepared, the circus has often moved on. The practical difficulties of compliance, inspections and associated time and costs, justifies a restriction. 
  • Economics
    • Circuses must change with the times. Human only circuses are thriving. Cirque du Soleil now has 19 shows in 271 cities, generating an estimated $810 million a year. Whereas the wild animal traveling show, Piccadilly Circus, recently canceled performances across Southern California due to poor ticket sales.
    • In 2012, Cirque du Soleil appeared eight times in the top ranking international shows alongside Madonna and Lady Gaga world tours (Top 50 Highest Earning World Tours in 2012). Not a single animal circus made the list.
    • Circus workers perform multiple roles; staff can be retrained, so jobs are not lost. ADI observations of the 2012 Ringling show in Los Angeles revealed wild animals formed just 13 minutes of the two hour performance. Circus Vargas removed their animal acts and the business continues. Surveys have shown that a decline in animal circuses can be matched by a rise in circuses with human performers.
  • Over 20 countries around the world have adopted national legislation prohibiting or restricting the use of wild and exotic animals in circuses, with hundreds of local bans in place worldwide – over 200 in the UK, and hundreds in Europe and South America, as well as Asia.
  • Please work within Congress to prevent wild animals from suffering in traveling circuses here in the United States.

Sample letters to Congress

Sample letter 1

Dear Congressperson _________,

I am writing as a constituent to ask for your support of federal legislation to protect wild animals in circuses. Such legislation addresses an important issue that gravely concerns me about the welfare of wild animals forced to perform in traveling circuses.

Careful research and detailed undercover investigations have shown the welfare of animals is unacceptably compromised under the confinement and cruel training practices that are inherent in traveling circuses. Wild, stressed animals in close quarters with the public has proven to be a public safety hazard, with escaped animals both maiming and even killing members of the public, including children.

Every time we allow a majestic wild animal to be reduced to a cheap circus trick, we are not just turning a blind eye to cruelty, we are advancing the belief that it is acceptable to be inhumane and setting a poor example for our children. Simply put, animal acts in circuses are antiquated and belong in the past. Entertaining contemporary circuses like Cirque du Soleil prove that the show will go on without abused animals.

Over 20 countries around the world have adopted national legislation prohibiting or restricting the use of wild and exotic animals in circuses, with hundreds of local bans in place worldwide – over 200 in the UK, and hundreds in Europe and South America, as well as Asia. The time is now to act! Please follow the will of your compassionate constituents and be a leader in Congress to work toward protections for circus animals.

Thank you for your public service and I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.

Sincerely,

Sample letter 2

Dear Congressperson _________,

As your constituent and a citizen concerned with animal welfare, please focus your thoughtful attention to the issue of animals suffering in traveling circuses.  I would like to ask you to please support federal legislation to protect wild animals in circuses.

As the internet and educational television programs expand our understanding of the natural world and the amazing creatures we share it with, Americans are increasingly becoming more sensitive to the complex needs of animals. With that education comes the growing understanding that these animals—elephants, tigers, lions, monkeys and others—are not getting their most basic welfare requirements met under the harsh constraints of life on the road in a traveling circus. The suffering of animals being forced to live in chains, in small cages and endure the boredom and sometimes brutal training inherent in the circus industry has been well documented as a systemic problem. History has proven that wild animals under duress sometimes escape and endanger the public.

Over 20 countries around the world, including Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Singapore, Costa Rica, Peru, Bolivia and others, have adopted national legislation prohibiting or restricting the use of wild and exotic animals in circuses, along with hundreds of local bans in place worldwide – over 200 in the UK, and hundreds in Europe and South America, as well as Asia. I am therefore respectfully asking you to join with other members of Congress to begin the work of addressing this issue here in the United States.

I appreciate all of your hard work in the district and hope that I can count on you to address this and other pressing animal welfare issues in the future.

Sincerely,

Sample letter 3

Dear Congressperson _____________,

I am writing as a constituent concerned about the welfare of wild animals forced to perform in traveling circuses in the US.  I would like to ask you to please support federal legislation to protect wild animals in circuses.

Americans are becoming increasingly aware that circus animals suffer from severe confinement, unavoidable because of the constraints of a difficult life of constant travel on the road. Tigers, bears, elephants and other wild animals spend hours on end either chained, in small cages, or crowded into trailers and train cars.

A circus animal’s life of ongoing deprivation is punctuated by moments of physical violence. Investigations have documented a pattern of abusive training methods where pain, punishment and fear are employed to force these wild animals to do unnatural and silly tricks. The tools of the trade include bullhooks, whips, and electric prods which are used to hit, “hook,” and shock animals.

Over 20 countries around the world have adopted national legislation prohibiting or restricting the use of wild and exotic animals in circuses, with hundreds of local bans in place worldwide – over 200 in the UK, and hundreds in Europe and South America, as well as Asia.  I am respectfully calling on you to take a stand, with your compassionate constituents, against this abuse and work toward protecting circus animals.

Sincerely,

Animal Defenders International thanks you for your support and we look forward to Breaking the Chain of circus suffering with your help!

Join our grassroots Break the Chain campaign to end circus suffering at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Break-The-Chain/162175353801229

For more information, contact our Los Angeles office at 323-935-2234 or by email at usa@ad-international.org

13 responses to “Contact Congress

  1. A not-so-gentle reminder to Please contact your congressman and ask him/her to support this Traveling Exotic Animal Protectin Act!

  2. Maria Larrechea

    Please stop using animals to entertain humans!!

    • teresa bonelli

      LOS CIRCOS SON UN ERROR DEL PASADO ,,POR FAVOR ,SE DEBE PROHIBIR ANIMALES TRABAJANDO EN CIRCOS ,,LOS ANIMALES DEBEN VOLVER A SUS HABITATS DE ORIGEN ,,ELLOS SIRVEN EN SUS TIERRAS Y NO SON PARA NEGOCIOS DE DIVERSION.HUMANA .,,COMPRENDASE QUE LA EXPLOTACION DE ANIMALES DEBE TERMINARSE DEFINITIVAMENTE..

  3. There’s a three-fold reason for banning the transport of wild animals.

    The first of these is that many species used in traveling circuses are endangered species. That such exotic animals are in such high demand threatens the wild populations by poaching and removal of the surviving young offspring.

    The second is that circuses have a long and well documented history of cruelity to animals made to perform. Some of these animals, systematically abused and food withheld, might in turn lash out at their handlers or other people out of self defense.

    The third and, arguably most important reason, is the risk of diseases jumping species from these exotic and wild species over to domesticated animals and people. Such threats to human health and to the domestic food supply shouldn’t be tolerable, even by those elected officials or government departments that otherwise have no interest in environmental or animal cruelty issues.

    Imagine what people will think if you fail to act and someone dies because of a preventable accident or larger catastrophe.

  4. April Sky

    Thank you to Defenders of Animals.

  5. Pingback: Elephant lovers call to action, can you spare a few clicks? « Island Shack

  6. Jennifer Higginbotham

    This is despicable

  7. You have my 100% support. I have blogged previously on this subject and blogged again today using some of the information you provided. Link:
    http://animalspirits222.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/u-s-circus-animals-need-your-help/

    I am in process of sending email, a written letter and placing appropriate personal calls. I will let you know if I receive a written response.

    Thank you so much for all that you are doing to inform the public and to protect our innocent animal spirits. Your posts are on my radar.

    Many Blessings,

    Gerean Pflug, The Animal Spirits

  8. Elizabeth J. Figueroa

    Animals are not for human entertainment, animals are human companions and family members too! I have two kids and are not humans, they’re dogs.

  9. Raina Wendt

    Please do the right thing for the animals.

  10. Tucker

    HAVE ALL THE HUMAN CIRCUSES YOU WANT!! GO CRAZY!!
    BUT………
    STOP ALL ANIMAL CIRCUSES!!!!! NOW!!!!
    THIS IS SOOOO DAMN SAD THAT THESE DAMN
    CIRCUSES HAVE BEEN GOING ON FOR YEARS, THAT
    THEY HAVEN’T BEEN CLOSED DOWN FOR EVER!!!!
    THAT ALL THE ANIMALS IN AL THESE CIRCUSES HAVE
    BEEN BEING ABUSED,SUFFERING,IN PAIN,NEGLECTED
    AS WELL AS A LOT OF DEATHS!!!!
    WHY THE HELL AREN’T CIRCIUES EVERY BANNED!??! CLOSED DOWN FOR GOOD BY NOW!?!?!?!?!?!
    THERE IS ENOUGH EVIDENCE IN ALL THESE CASES!!!!
    WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!?!?

    MAKES ME SICK!!!! SICK!!!! SICK!!!!

    IT ALSO MAKES E SICK THAT PEOPLE SUPPORT AND GO TO THE CIRCUS!!!!! DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND SEE WHAT CIRCUSES ARE REALLY ABOUT!!!!!

    STOP SUPPORTING AND GOING TO CIRCUSES!!!!!!

    • Elizabeth Cooper

      Why does it take so long to get anything done??????? These wonderful animals that God made deserve so much better. Elephants for example have tender skin and do feel being beaten, or horrible chains around their legs. They need socilization with other elephants. The female elephants are wonderful Mothers and take such good care of their babies. Go to elephants.com and look at this beautiful site of a Elephant Santuary which is a perfect example of where elephants should live, breathe the air, swim and they receive medical help as needed. They are happy and you can see smiles on their faces. Truly. Some of them have dreadful backgrounds of being in circuses where they have been trucked around all their lives and when they are not performing they are chained up and not given enough food and water. Practically no medical help. Join the efforts to get the circuses to a closing point. Lot’s of Zoos don’t have enough adequate land or anything to take care of our dear animals properly.

  11. It’s is long past time for humans to stop abusing animals in any sense!!!!!!! It’s time for humans to be humane. Stop the use of animals in circuses, or any other form that causes pain and degration!!!!!!!

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