Support HB 996 to ban traveling wild animal acts in Pennsylvania.

HB 996, sponsored by Representative Melissa Shusterman, will prohibit the transport of wild animals for the purpose of participation in a traveling animal act and will align HB 996Pennsylvania with other states that are leading the nation in animal protection, including New Jersey and Hawaii which, just last year, passed legislation banning many species of wild animals in traveling shows and prohibiting the import of wild animals for such use.

What the Bill Does:

This bill will prohibit the transport of elephants, big cats, bears, primates, kangaroos, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, zebras, tapirs, seals, sea lions and sharks for the purpose of participation in a traveling animal act. The bill does not impact stationary, permanent institutions.

Why the Bill is Needed:

Circuses and other traveling shows subject wild animals to violent training, constant confinement, and neglect; are a public safety risk; undermine conservation efforts and are dwindling in popularity.

Most traveling shows that tour in Pennsylvania have histories of federal Animal Welfare Act violations and dangerous incidents. Instead of providing entertainment, many of these exhibits attract unwanted controversy. In Hanover, PA, two elephants rampaged as they were being led to the circus tent for a show and in Carrolltown, PA, horrified schoolchildren watched a tiger kill a trainer in the circus ring.

In response to public concern and drop in attendance, some circuses have closed (Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Cole Bros. Circus) and others have eliminated wild animal acts (Circus Vazquez and Kelly Miller Circus).

Ending wild animal acts does not adversely affect the local economy. Families will simply spend their entertainment budget on something else, such as a movie, a ball game, or an animal-free circus.

Why Traveling Animal Acts are Bad for Animals and The Public:

Abusive Training

Wild animals don’t perform confusing and physically grueling circus tricks because they want to—they perform because they’re afraid not to. Trainers use physical abuse, including beatings and electric shock, to force animals to perform difficult tricks on command.

Constant Confinement

Animals used in traveling shows spend vast periods of time in extreme confinement. Tigers and lions spend most of their time in cramped transport cages that, on average, measure approximately 4 feet by 7 feet. Deprived of adequate exercise and with no opportunities to express natural behaviors, wild animals often develop physical ailments and neurotic behaviors due to psychological distress. Life on the road also means that sick animals may not have timely access to urgent veterinary care. 

Public Safety Concerns

Wild animals are dangerous and unpredictable, and their use in entertainment puts the public at risk. Since 1990, hundreds of people have been injured by wild animals usedin traveling shows.


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