Protect Traveling Animals

A new bill would require circuses to offer performing animals rest after extended travel.

A new bill would require circuses to provide animals with rest after a period of extended travel.

HR 4525 , the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, addresses the issue of exotic and wild, non-domesticated animals who are forced to travel to various venues to be put on display for the paying public.

Exotic and wild, non-domesticated animals required to travel to multiple venues need time to adjust before going on display. Traveling circuses and exhibitions often move weekly to new locations causing much distress and suffering to the animals. Then the animals are required to be on display almost as soon as they arrive at the next location. The bill would prohibit exhibitors from immediately showing exotic or wild, non-domesticated animals if they have been travelling during the preceding 15-day period. This is the least we can do to protect those animals who are moved around the country to be put on display.

Contact your representative and ask him or her to support HR 4525.

When you think about it…elephants belong in the wild, not the streets of St. Louis.

Elephants deserve a long life in the wild.

Elephants deserve a long life in the wild.

Why are elephants wandering a parking  lot in St. Louis? Why are elephants in St. Louis, period? Their natural habitat is far from an urban setting. Yet, we find elephants, lions, tigers, and other wild and exotic animals performing in circuses in a variety of cities starting now and going through the late fall.

Circus animals  do not have a good life. They may travel many miles in railcars that can become overheated in the summer. They are kept caged or shackled unless they are performing or are being trained to perform. They are separated from members of their own families and often members of their own species. They are living in climates that do not even closely replicate their natural one. Basically, they are slaves to their trainers and owners who want nothing more than to make a buck off their backs. But these are living, breathing, sentient beings with minds of their own and sometimes they object and find a way to escape.

In the case of the St. Louis elephants, they were quickly corralled and were not made to perform the Saturday show. They should get every show off as should all wild and exotic animals who find themselves in the circus. For when you think about it…elephants belong in the wild, not the streets of St. Louis or any other city.

 

Ivory Bites the Dust

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service destroyed 6 tons of ivory in response to illegal poaching of elephants.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service destroyed over 6 tons of ivory in response to poaching of elephants.

Paws Up!
To the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for destroying stockpiles of confiscated ivory.

A recent news story confirmed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “destroyed more than 6 tons of confiscated ivory tusks, carvings and jewelry….”

According to the story, “poachers killed 32,000 elephants last year.” As long as there are illegal markets for ivory, elephants will continue to die. With less than half a million elephants left in Africa and Asia combined, the more we can do to stop illegal sales of ivory, the more we will be able to help save the lives of the largest land mammal.

Take Action: Thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for sending a message to traders in illegal ivory. Additionally, never buy products made in whole or in part with ivory.

Dan Ashe, Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Elephants Safe in LA

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The use of bullhooks on circus elephants is now prohibited in the city of Los Angeles.

Paws Up!
To the Los Angeles City Council for banning the use of bullhooks on circus elephants.

The Los Angeles City Council “voted unanimously to prohibit the use of ankus or bullhooks, which is a tool used by animal trainers at circuses to keep large elephants in line, starting in 2017.”

Bullhooks are inhumane tools of the circus trade and need to be outlawed across the country. But bullhooks are really only one part of the problem. Circuses in general are abusive to animals. Learn more about the degradation animals experience in circuses and roadside shows.

Take Action: California residents, thank the leaders in Los Angeles for taking a stand to protect elephants in circuses. If you live outside LA, let your council members know you want them to follow Los Angeles’s lead. And never, never support a circus that promotes animal shows.

Herb Wesson, President
Mitchell Englander, President Pro Tempore
Los Angeles City Council
City Hall
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Elephants to be Retired

Elephants belong in their natural setting, not a zoo or circus.

Elephants belong in their natural setting, not a zoo or circus.

PawsUpPaws Up!
To the Forest Preserve Committee of the Rock Island County Board (IL) for voting to send elephants at the Niabi Zoo to retirement.

According to a news story, Babe and Sophie will be relocated to an appropriate facility where they will live in retirement. Both Babe and Sophie were former circus elephants who wound up in a zoo. The director of the zoo stated that there is “no intention to bring elephants back….The climate is very rough on them….”

Circus and zoo elephants lead horrendous lives in climates that are often totally unsuitable to their normal environment. Additionally, life in a zoo or circus does not give elephants the space they need for roaming and foraging. Elephants typically roam 10 miles a day over ranges measuring hundreds of square miles. Also, they must reside on hard ground and cement surfaces, contributing substantially to painful foot and leg ailments. Foot disease is a common cause of death in captive elephants. They often endure conditions that induce psychological and emotional suffering and may develop stereotypies, such as swaying or patterned walking, which are considered symptoms of psychological distress. Circus and zoo elephants suffer from the inability to partake in natural behaviors, like forming family groups and are often subjected to inhumane treatment through the use of bullhooks and other negative training devices.

Take Action: The best action anyone can take to protect elephants in zoos and circuses is to never attend, visit, or view on media animals confined or forced to entertain. Additionally, if there is an elephant exhibit in your community, contact your local authorities to see if you can persuade them to do what the Rock Island County Board did and vote to send the elephants to an appropriate sanctuary.

New Jersey on Verge of Banning Wild Animals in Circuses

If passed, New Jersey bill A 4088 would penalize those exhibiting bears, elephants, lions, and tigers in circuses throughout the state.

If passed, New Jersey bill A 4088 would penalize those exhibiting bears, elephants, lions, and tigers in circuses throughout the state.

A bill before the New Jersey Assembly, A 4088 , would impose a penalty for the exhibition or use in a performance of live bears, elephants, lions, and tigers in that state.

Wild and exotic animals, such as bears, elephants, lions, and tigers, do not belong in the circus. Many animals are forced to perform by the use of bullhooks, electric shocks, ropes, and other abusive tools. Many circus companies have been cited for violations of the Animal Welfare Act yet persist in forcing these wild animals to perform unnatural tricks. These animals not only face years of both physical and psychological distress, but also pose a threat to onlookers during their performances.

Last year, Greece banned the use of animals in circuses; and just recently, the British government did likewise.

New Jersey residents, contact your legislators and let them know you support A 4088, which would effectively ban the use of live bears, elephants, lions, and tigers in exhibitions and performances in your state. Residents of other states, let your legislators know you would like to see similar legislation to protect wild animals in your state.

When you think about it…a species with a brain should be able to think.

The intelligence of animals is often times underestimated.

The intelligence of animals is often times underestimated.

For centuries, animals were considered nothing more than robots, machines that made noises but nothing more. They were considered to have no intelligence and certainly couldn’t learn other than by constant repetition. They certainly couldn’t use tools or show emotions like love.

However, the more we engage with animals where they are—not where we think they should be—the more we learn that we have underestimated them.

When given a stick to find food, a chimpanzee can fashion it into a tool to dig termites out of rotted tree trunks. When given a stick to reach food, an elephant ignores it. Are elephants “dumber” than chimpanzees? No, elephants don’t use sticks the way chimps do. If an elephant wants to reach food, especially food suspended above her head, she will extend her trunk. If the food is too high, and there is a suitable object that the elephant can step on to reach the food, the elephant will move that object and step up to grab the food. Once we begin to recognize the species’ differences, and develop “tests” to test their abilities on their terms, the more we learn about their intelligence.

Can animals love? Can they show compassion and empathy for their own kind or for other species? Can they learn by adapting what they already know to new situations? The answer to these and other questions about animal intelligence is more often today “yes.” When you think about it, a species with a brain should be able to think.

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