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WASHINGTON May 21, 2019 – Today, Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) and David Schweikert (AZ-06) introduced the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA). The bill would amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit traveling circuses from holding exotic animals such as lions, tigers, and elephants in captivity. The legislation is narrowly targeted to address known public safety and animal welfare issues inherent to exotic animal traveling acts.

“Traveling animal acts deprive exotic and wild animals of their basic dignity and create a safety hazard for the general public,” said Rep. Grijalva. “This legislation updates our antiquated animal welfare laws and prohibits traveling circuses from holding exotic animals such as lions, tigers and elephants in captivity. Thanks to the tireless works of advocates, dozens of localities across the U.S have already acted to protect exotic and wild animals by banning traveling performances. It is time for Congress to do the same.”

“As a native of the Southwest, seeing exotic animals roam free is something Arizonans cherish. By continuing to educate the public about the dangerous travel practices some animals must endure, we can put an end to these torturous and harmful conditions and help maintain the beauty of our wild animals,” said Rep. Schweikert.

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“The evidence is clear: animals in traveling circuses suffer,” said Animal Defense International President Jan Creamer. “America is taking a stand against this, passing an increasing number of local and state bans, but we can and must do more. With the introduction of TEAPSPA in Congress, we have a chance now to stop circus suffering nationwide – so let’s do this!”

A full list of organizations endorsing TEAPSPA can be found here.

Rep. Grijalva and Rep. Schweikert hosted a Facebook Live to discuss the legislation which can be viewed here.