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Wild Animals in the Circus Laws

Updated on July 19, 2014

Ringling Brothers Elephant

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Laws and Bills Banning Wild Circus Animals


In the United States as it stands, the circus is allowed to have wild animals in it. Different animal rights groups have protested the conditions to no avail at times. Some of the cities now are taking it into their own hands.

In April 2014 Los Angeles, California lawmakers approved a ban on bullhooks, bats and other objects in the circus. It would appear to keep the circus out, but it does not go into effect until January, 2017. "It is important to send a message," states councilman, Mitch O'Farrell. It is also to raise public awareness.

The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act by Congressman Jim Moran would ban exotic animals in the circus if it passes in the United States.

New York has two bills in the works that will effectively ban exotic animals from entering the state with the circus. Ringling Brothers Circus opposes the idea of the ban.

Many countries have banned exotic animals from appearing in the circus in their country. The United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, India and Greece have banned wild animals. The one in the United Kingdom takes effect in 2015. There are thirty countries that have some type of animal ban.

Animal rights organizations in the United States have just had a setback with the recent Ringling Brothers Circus ruling. The ruling was on a legal argument, the qualifications of the trainer, not on the idea that the animals were being abused. The judge has not been sympathetic to the idea.



Ban Wild Animal Cruelty in Traveling Circuses

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Animal Welfare Agencies vs. Ringling Brothers Verdict


The lawsuit brought against Ringling Brothers Circus by several animal protection agencies, including the ASPCA, went down in failure. It did so because the judge ruled that their star witness was not qualified in a legal sense. They brought up the fact that he was a handler and not a trainer. Also, as if he was paid by the animal rights agencies. In fact, he was only paid for some travel. They decided they had to pay Ringling Brothers the fine to pay the legal fine to Ringling Brothers as if it was a frivolous lawsuit. The money did not come from donors, but from the insurance of the ASPCA.

It was not that they, the animal rights organizations did not prove that the animals were being abused. The ruling was not on if it was a valid idea or not. The judge had made a similar ruling in the past. The judge was reluctant to look at the claims of the animal rights organizations.

The points that the animal welfare agencies brought up about the elephants seemed to be valid to me. Many people were there on the side of Ringling Brothers to dismiss it. They don't understand about how the animals can actually be treated and perhaps would not care. It has been stated that there is no way to actually train the elephants to do tricks for the public without force.

Ringling Brothers Poster

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Laws on Wild Animals in the Circus

Do you think wild animals should be in the circus?

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Ringling Brothers Circus


R. T. Barnum, of the circus, stated that there was a sucker born every minute. It is a famous statement that most people in the United States are familiar with. There are some in the United States that are not willing anymore to be suckers for them.

The USDA, the US Department of Agriculture was able to succeed in suing Ringling Brothers on the basis of violations of the Animal Welfare Act. It succeeded in getting a sizable settlement. Unfortunately, that is just a slap on the back to the circus.

In 1929 John Ringling ordered an elephant killed for killing a woman in Texas. It had been in the parade. The elephant was shot many times by his employees. The head was then cut off for display.

Thirty elephants have died in the Ringling Brothers Circus since 1992.

I know I loved the circus myself when I was a kid. I began to realize what was happening. I cannot at all condone what has been done from what I have read about it all.

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      My child has never been to a circus because I am an animal lover who has become conscious of the treatment they endure in the name of "entertainment."

    • Janus Joshua profile image

      Janus Joshua Angeles 2 years ago from Philippines

      WHOA!

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