To amend the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the use of exotic and non-domesticated animals in traveling circuses and exhibitions. Read More


This bill was introduced on Nov 3, 2011, in a previous session of Congress, but was not passed.


Date Introduced
Nov 3, 2011


Bill Text


To amend the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the use of exotic and non- domesticated animals in traveling circuses and exhibitions.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the ``Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act''.


Congress finds that-- (1) traveling circuses are detrimental to animal welfare due to the adverse effects of captivity and transport; (2) due to severe confinement, lack of free exercise, and the restriction of natural behaviors, animals used in circuses suffer and are prone to health, behavioral, and psychological problems; (3) the tricks that exotic and non-domesticated animals are forced to perform require extreme physical coercion techniques, including the restriction of food, the use of elephant hooks (objects used to control and punish elephants), electric shocks, metal bars, whips, and other forms of physical abuse; (4) the welfare of animals subject to the conditions in traveling circuses, such as constant travel, limited facilities, long periods of restriction of movement, stress, and physical coercion, will inevitably be compromised, which can lead to increased risks to public safety; (5) animals in traveling circuses pose an additional risk to public safety because such animals have wild instincts and needs and have demonstrated unpredictability; (6) the use of collapsible, temporary facilities in traveling circuses increases the risk of escaping exotic and non-domesticated animals seriously harming workers and the public; (7) traveling circuses bring people dangerously...

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Sentiment Map



39 Supporting
0 Opposing
100% 0%

State: CA

3 Supporting
0 Opposing
100% 0%

District: 1st

0 Supporting
0 Opposing
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Popularity Trend

Organizations Supporting

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Far too many traveling exhibits are incapable or unwilling to exceed the minimal laws, placing the welfare of animals above profit. Existing laws are too lacking to ensure appropriate space, enrichment, and to limit exploitation.

Undercover investigations and scientific evidence show that given the circumstances of constant travel, limited facilities and pressure to make animals do things that they are unwilling to do, suffering and sometimes abuse is inevitable in U.S. traveling circuses. With current-day understanding of the intelligence, environmental and emotional needs of other species, we have no excuse to treat them in a way that degrades a civilized, advanced society. No one is saying ‘end circuses.’ Rather, let’s take animals out of circuses and let humans do the entertaining. Please support the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act and show circus animals that you care.

Organizations Opposing

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The Association of Professional Wildlife Educators is forming an official position statement regarding this proposed legislation. However, though the humane treatment of ALL animals is of utmost concern and expressed throughout our Ethics Policy, the unintended consequences of HR 3359 as it is currently written would be so vast and damaging to facilitating an educated and conservation-minded citizenry that we must oppose the bill in it's current form. The impact of this bill if passed would go far beyond helping a couple hundred animals involved in the few remaining circuses! It would also immediately criminalize the thousands of highly professional educational programs and experiences that are brought to the elderly, schools, impoverished and remote communities, inner city populations, libraries and more. Organizations that TRULY help wild and domestic animals such as nature centers, wildlife sanctuaries, licensed exhibitors, local animals rescue shelters and even those organizations that work with animals to help injured and disabled populations (many of them exceedingly reputable non-profit organizations) would be severely hurt or even shut down and the consequences to their animals would be severe. None of these animals would be the "circus species" referred to in the bill's propaganda.

We oppose H.R. 3359: Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act because there is a great deal of hoopla over how animals are treated. While we are against the maltreatment of pets and in support of humane treatment of animals, there comes a time that a line must be drawn. That line is crossed when proposed government legislation places restrictions that hinder legitimate business, educational, or entertainment purposes. Animals are not humans! Humans are not animals and animals do NOT have the same rights as humans. Do we place the lion in jail for killing the gazelle? No. There is a line that people cross when they actually believe the myth that animals and humans are related in a common ancestry--a shared "evolutionary heritage." It is NOT true. It is NOT science...but a belief, a belief that affects the lives of human beings. This bill will negatively impact the lives and businesses and PEOPLE. Please oppose it. Thank you.

Users Supporting

I support The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act because this bill would amend the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the use of exotic and non-domesticated animals in circuses and traveling shows. Animals in circuses and traveling shows are subjected to horrific abuse, confinement, exploitation and cruelty. For the few minutes the public is “entertained” by them performing ridiculous unnatural stunts, these animals suffer a lifetime of misery. Animals belong in their natural habitat with their family not in circuses and traveling shows. Please support H.R.3359. Sincerely Carolina Furtado

1 year ago

I support The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act because it is time that America gives a voice to living beings that have no choice or voice. It is time we evolve as a nation with compassion, the strength of kindness and the power of love. We no longer need to be the "masters of the wild beasts" but we CAN be a master of freedom and unconditional love! ( let's provide sanctuary homes for all these animals that have served us for so long and begin promoting the unlimited potential of the human spirit...let's promote Cirque du Soleil !!! Thank you in advance !

1 year ago

I support The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act because it would defend animals in the circus. The movie Earthlings is informative on the cruelty circus animals go through.

1 year ago

I support H.R. 3359: Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act because... In 2010 I attended my first and only circus in Auburn Hills, MI. This was the worst show on earth, not the greatest . I sat in the second row with my two young boys and husband . I saw the bullhooks, I saw the whips, I saw the fearful tigers with their ears back and teeth showing. I walked out of the show . Since then I have educated myself and others about what goes on behind closed doors in the circus. It is far worse than what I saw at the "show." I now realize that my family may have been in danger sitting so close to these large , stressed and abused exotic animals. It has been documented time after time where a circus animal " loses it" and has caused injuries to bystanders . Circus animals show be a thing of the past. Many progressive countries have banned allowing them. Please pass this Bill that will put an end to needless suffering of these animals and help protect the public. Thank you, Carrie Sallach Michigan

2 years ago

I support H.R. 3359: Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act because...please help us protect the animals by passing this bill. So many animals are abused and it is our job to protect them. Please do not allow circus's to continue using animals in the circus.

2 years ago

Users Opposing

No constituents opposing yet.

Bill Summary

To amend the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the use of exotic and non-domesticated animals in traveling circuses and exhibitions.

H.R. 3358 Northern Border Regional Commission Reauthorization Act of 2011 H.R. 3360 Creating Homeownership Opportunity Act of 2011