From: Alicia Graef, Care2, More from this Affiliate
Published March 17, 2015 12:52 PM

Bill Proposed to Ban Wild Animals from Circus Performing

Circus elephants just scored a victory with an announcement that Ringling Bros. will be retiring its performers, but big cats and other wild animals left behind may get their own victory in Pennsylvania if a state senator can get them banned.

The emotional and physical toll life on the road as performers takes on elephants has taken center stage, but for other species like big cats, life in the entertainment industry is just as bad.

As Care2′s Abigail Geer pointed out, substituting other wild animals for elephants, which is what Ringling Bros. plans to do, isn’t a total victory. Lions, tigers and other wild animals might be popular attractions, but we should be just as concerned with their continued use and exploitation for our amusement, especially considering some of these species are endangered and their future in the wild is in jeopardy.

While life in traveling shows is one of deprivation for wild animals where their needs as a species and as individuals are ignored, problems also come when they’re no longer useful as performers. Animal advocates have long raised concerns about the life of big cats after circuses decide not to use them anymore, which can include ending up in zoos, canned hunting facilities or the illegal wildlife trade.

As the public continues to turn against using wild and exotic animals as performers, a growing number of local and state regulations that ban or restrict their use, or cruel training tools, keeps growing, but a statewide ban would send a strong message to Ringling Bros. and other companies that continue the practice that it’s time to stop.

Pennsylvania Senator Daylin Leach has promised to act on behalf of these animals by introducing legislation that will ban their use in traveling exhibitions. In an announcement regarding his intention to introduce the bill, he stated:

Elephants are not the only circus animals that are suffering. To maximize profit, traveling exhibitions use grueling itineraries that force all of their animals to endure cramped living quarters, limited social interaction, and perpetual stress. Circuses hide this suffering from audiences, who witness only the power and grace of these magnificent animals. The secret is out. The public will not tolerate this unconscionable cruelty any longer.

Even though Ringling Bros. made the right move for elephants, in theory at least, the circus’ parent company Feld Entertainment is apparently not ready to let go of its other wild animal performers just yet.

Continue reading at ENN affiliate, Care2.

Elephant image via Shutterstock.

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