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World Circus Day: Celebrities support US bill to ban wild animal circus acts

Ricky Gervais, Pamela Anderson, Joanna Lumley, Shelley Morrison, and Marilu Henner are among a host of international stars supporting a campaign by Animal Defenders International (ADI) to end the suffering of wild animals in traveling circuses in the United States, through the passing of H.R. 1759, the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA). Ahead of World Circus Day, April 21st, ADI is calling on the public to visit shows where the acts have a choice about performing, and ask their Representatives to support TEAPSPA, as urged by celebrity supporters.

Multi-award-winning actor and comedian, writer, producer, director, musician Ricky Gervais: “For animals in circuses, there is no escape from the merry-go-round of imprisonment, deprivation, and being forced to perform. Elephants, lions, tigers, bears, and others live a life of desperation and fear. It doesn’t have to be this way. Please support the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act and help end the use of wild animal acts.”

Pamela Anderson, actress, model; internationally known for Baywatch: “Circuses like to give the idea that the animals are having fun, that’s an illusion. Animals in circuses suffer a life of deprivation, chained, and tied up, and a brutal culture where they are kicked, punched, whipped, and beaten. The circus is no fun for the animals, it has to stop. Support ADI’s call for a federal ban on wild animals in circuses.”

Actress Joanna Lumley, award-winning star of Absolutely Fabulous, said: “No animal should be caged and trained to perform in the grim circumstances of a circus life. The world has changed and grown up; compassion to all living creatures must be our watchword. No circus should keep animals in these shameful and cruel conditions, and no animals should be made to exist purely for our dubious entertainment.”

Beloved actress from Will & Grace, Shelly Morrison: “It may be a dream for some to run away with the circus, but for the animals it’s a nightmare. Life on the road in tiny cages, nowhere to run, takes a terrible toll, and you can see the animals literally going out of their minds. Please urge your representative to support TEAPSPA and help end their suffering.”

Marilu Henner, Golden Globe nominated actress from Taxi, “These intelligent, social wild animals live sad lives on the road, confined to parking lots, deprived of everything natural… There is no place for cruelty in entertainment, and thankfully Congress has an opportunity to end this circus abuse. Please act now to support the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act. This bill will protect elephants, tigers, bears, and other wild animals from being forced to suffer in traveling performances.”

Audiences have been turning away from animal circuses in droves; several, including Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, have closed, while others have gone animal-free and thrived. Over 80 US jurisdictions in 31 states have now taken action to restrict wild animal circus acts.

Studies and evidence has shown that the health and welfare of animals in traveling circuses is inevitably compromised due to necessarily small, barren, mobile accommodations, restriction of movement, long journeys and excessive periods of time spent in transporters and containers.

Training methods are brutal and ADI undercover investigations have documented the violence and abuse occurring in the U.S. and worldwide. The tools of the trade include stun guns and other electric prods, metal bars, whips, bullhooks (a heavy bar with a sharpened point and hook), deprivation of food and water, and intimidation.

These stressed wild animals also represent a threat to public safety. Escaped animals have maimed and killed workers and members of the public, including children, and animals escaping from temporary facilities in city centers or onto busy roads present hazards.

Supporting the reintroduction of TEAPSPA, by Representatives Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Raul Grijalva (DA-AZ) in March 2017, ADI launched ‘The Reluctant Entertainers’, an online video featuring Ed Asner, Danny Boyle, Brian Blessed, James Cromwell, Jorja Fox, Tonya Kay, Kim Matula, Moby, Eric Roberts, Mindy Sterling, Eric Szmanda, Alexandra Paul, and Diane Warren. Its simple message: “Leave the entertaining to the people who want to perform, they have a choice.” Watch it here:

ADI President Jan Creamer said: "The circus of the future is one without animals. Animal Defenders International has repeatedly documented the suffering and abuse of circus animals, in the US and around the world. Over 40 countries have taken action to end these compromising acts, it is time now for the US to act. To help stop circus suffering, never visit a circus with animals and ask your Representatives to support TEAPSPA today.”

For more information about TEAPSPA, go to


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