Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act

With the passage of The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA), Congress aims to amend the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses and other traveling acts.

Traveling circuses are detrimental to animal welfare because of the adverse effects of captivity and transport. Due to severe confinement, lack of free exercise, and the restriction of natural behaviors, animals used in traveling circuses suffer and are prone to health, behavioral, and psychological problems. Careful research and detailed undercover investigations have shown the welfare of animals and safety of the public is unacceptably compromised under the confinement and the daily brutality of life on the road with a traveling circus. Law enforcement authorities have difficulty enforcing Federal animal health, safety, and welfare laws, and violations. Due to the mobile and transitory nature of traveling circuses, law enforcement cannot properly monitor the conditions of the animals or follow up on previous infractions by the traveling circuses.

Congress has a responsibility to protect the welfare of animals and ensure public safety. A prohibition on the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses is proportionate, responsible, and the least expensive solution to this problem.

Reasons to support the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act

  • Protects wild and exotic animals
  • Prevents public safety hazard
  • Saves taxpayer money

Please support and pass the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act, the bill that will stop circus suffering.

The Cost of Regulation

Monitoring of animal welfare and enforcement of regulations is expensive:

  • The USDA inspected Carson & Barnes Circus 42 times from 2007 to 2010.
  • The average cost per inspection was $1363 – a total cost of $57,246.
  • Although US records do not break down regulation costs specific to circuses, worldwide statistics show licensing and inspections for animal circuses is costly. In the UK, the Department of the Environment estimates that the annual cost of inspecting the country’s 4 animal circuses (with just 30 animals) would be $13,000 – $19,000. The cost in the United States is likely far greater since the US land mass is almost 38 times that of the UK with approximately six times as many circuses to inspect.
  • Federal oversight of traveling animal acts is costly, problematic, and unmanageable. Nominal licensing fees and minimal, inconsistent monetary penalties don’t cover oversight costs; they are largely borne by taxpayers. The US taxpayer effectively pays for 87% of the licensing costs whereas the circus only pays 13%. To ban wild animals in circuses altogether is cleaner, less costly, and more easily enforced than the current, costly, admittedly problematic and ineffective regulatory oversight. The current administration is calling on Congress to make deep cuts to the budget, with an eye toward less government regulation. Passing the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act will protect animals and public safety while saving taxpayer money and reducing government regulation.
  • For more information on the cost of regulation, please see our Economics Briefing.

Click here for a briefing with data on circuses in the United States today.

Click here for a briefing on prohibitions on the use of animals in circuses throughout the world.