THIS IS A REPOST BY READER REQUEST
Bolivia showed the way, what are other nations waiting for?
And why is the UNO not taking up the lead in this field?
Bolivia first country in the world to ban wild and domestic animals from travelling circuses
Originally Posted: 2 July 2009.
[A]nimal Defenders International (ADI) is delighted that Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has signed a new law to end the use of wild and domestic animals in travelling circuses.
BELOW: Rescuing Tillin (a Mandrill) from a lifetime of confinement.
The law, tabled by Congresswoman Ximena Flores of Potosi, arose as a result of evidence gathered during a disturbing undercover investigation by ADI that included: lions confined in a tiny cage on the back of a truck (two were pregnant but continued to perform); a mandrill confined in a tiny cage; three brown bears kept in tiny compartments measuring just 2.5x3m, inside a cage on the back of a truck ¬– their only exercise was the walk to and from the ring for their short performance. Lack of safety barriers were noted, as the animals were made to dance, play dead and ride a bicycle. The findings of the investigation were presented to the Congress together with ADI’s report on the scientific evidence of suffering of animals in travelling circuses, ‘The Science on Suffering’.
The new law bans the use of wild and domestic animals in circuses in the Bolivia, as their conditions and confinement it is considered an act of cruelty. The circuses will be allowed one year to adapt their shows to a humans-only programme and during this time, the government will issue regulations on confiscation and pecuniary sanctions for any breaches of the law.
This is the first national law to ban the use of both domestic and wild animals in circuses. So far, similar bans on animal use in travelling circuses in Austria, Costa Rica, Finland and Denmark only prohibit the use of wild animals or certain species. In recognition of President Morales’ stand on the issue and his government’s prompt action, ADI has presented the Bolivian government with the Toto Award on animal protection and conservation.
ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer, “This is a truly historic day for circus animals. The undercover investigations, the scientific research and the hard work of our supporters in Bolivia has made a difference for animals that will reach around the world. Bolivia is the first country to ban animal circuses in South America and the first worldwide to ban both domestic and wild animals in circuses. We applaud the President Evo Morales for setting the highest standard for animal protection for South America, which the rest of the world now needs to follow. We also salute the efforts of Congresswoman Flores and all the local organizations and who along with ADI worked tirelessly to ensure that the bill became a law.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
For further information, contact: ADI Press Office
Press mobile: 07785 552548
Switchboard: +44 (0)20 7630 3344
The groups in Bolivia who worked alongside ADI on the campaign for the new legislation include:
FOCOMADE, VIDA SILVESTRE, BIOSFERA, CODAC, ZOOPRAMA, ANIMA
NATURALIS-BOLIVIA, GAIA PACHA, EBA-BOLIVIA, ANIMALES SOS (La Paz y Santa Cruz) amongst others.
- The ‘Science on Suffering’ South America report is available here (in
- ADI footage from South America is available here:
- The ‘Stop Circus Suffering’ website is here:
- The full-length video of Stop Circus Suffering – UK is available here:
Animal Defenders International (ADI)
With offices in London, San Francisco and Bogota, ADI campaigns to protect animals in entertainment, replacement of animals in experiments; worldwide traffic in endangered species; vegetarianism; factory farming; pollution and conservation. ADI also rescues animals in distress worldwide. Our evidence has led to campaigns and legislative action all over the world to protect them.
The situation in the USA: The Animal Welfare Act
Notes by Russell Meade (8.4.2009)
Also, there are few APHIS inspectors for the thousands of animal exhibitors including circuses and zoos, as well as other businesses using animals that are supposedly regulated by AWA, research facilities and commercial pet breeders. And, many APHIS inspectors are simply not adequately trained in the care and handling of wild animals.
The AWA regulations do not apply at all to birds, reptiles or other amphibians. Nor do they apply to horses and ponies used in many circuses.
The AWA does not have any specific qualifications or regulations for caregivers or trainers who handle circus animals. The AWA prohibits “physical abuse“, but it is not clear what that means. 9 C.F.R. 2.131 There are no regulations prohibiting the use of bullhooks, prods, whips and other such devices. How many times can a lion or elephant be hit or prodded before it constitutes “physical abuse“? And, anyway, who will know about and stop the physical abuse?
The only other AWA regulation really touching on handling and physical treatment of the animals cautions against causing “trauma, overheating, excessive cooling, behavioral stress, physical harm, or unnecessary discomfort.” This is no explanation of these terms or what behavior or handling should be avoided.
The regulations state that “[y]oung or immature animals shall not be exposed to rough or excessive public handling or exhibited for periods of time which would be detrimental to their health or well-being.” Does this mean adult animals can be so handled? 9 C.F.R. 2.131
The regulations ban use of drugs and otherwise state “[a]nimals shall be exhibited only for periods of time and under conditions consistent with their good health and well-being.” 9 C.F.R. 2.131 The behavior by a circus operator or employee that would violate this provision is anyone’s guess.
State laws concerning circuses
There are a hodge podge of state laws that attempt to protect circus animals from some abuse.
Louisiana, for example, prohibits the killing of circus animals for sport. The law also prohibits the sale, donation, or transfer of circus animals for use in any business or activity where they may be intentionally killed for sport. La. R.S. 14:102.20.
Florida, Fl. Stat. §877.16 prohibits the exhibition for pay or compensation “any crippled or physically distorted, malformed, or disfigured beast, bird, or animal in any circus”.
Ohio law bans use of “twisted wire snaffles, unpadded bucking straps, unpadded flank straps, electric or other prods, or similar devices.” ORC §959.20
Wisconsin, Wis. Stat. § 951.07, prohibits the use of “a bristle bur, tack bur or like device; or a poling device used to train a horse to jump which is charged with electricity or to which have been affixed nails, tacks or other sharp points”.
Unlike the AWA, Alaska has a law that specifically addresses the use of elephants in exhibitions including circuses. A permit is required to “possess, import or export” an elephant. The facilities for the elephant must be such that the animal can be maintained in “humane conditions“. Alaska Stat. § 16.40.060.
Many state laws that even mention circus animals do so only to say they are exempt from prohibitions against display or exhibition of wild animals or use of them to solicit money, in advertising, as prizes or for entertainment.
Connecticut, Conn. Gen. Stat. §53-250; Massachusetts, ALM GL ch. 272, §77B both have such laws.
The Washington, D.C. code does exempt circuses from restrictions but states the Mayor retains the authority to restrict the movement of any prohibited animal into the District and the conditions under which those movements are made. D.C. Code § 8-1808.
Montana regulates zoos and other exhibitions of animals but not traveling circuses. MT. Code § 87-4-801
Texas has laws governing standards for humane treatment of circus animals but specifically exempts USDA licensed circuses that provide proof of inspections at least once a year. Tex. Occ. Code §§2152.001, .052.
Several state laws specifically exempt circus animals from regulations governing the keeping and handling of dangerous or wild animals:
Alabama, Code of Ala. § 9-11-328; Arizona, A.A.C. § R12-4-407; Arkansas, 002 00 CARR 001, Florida, Fla. Stat. § 379.3761; Minnesota, Minn. Stat. §346.155; Texas, Tex. Health & Safety Code §822.102 (except circus animals involved in a quarantine for ticks in which case a permit indicating they have been inspected and treated must accompany them throughout the state, Tex. Agric. Code §§167.026, .027);Kansas, K.S.A. § 32-1308; K.S.A. § 32-1308; K.A.R. § 115-20-4; Indiana, Ind. Code §14-22-26-1;-3; 12 IAC 9-10-20; Maine, 12 M.R.S. § 10001 ; Michigan, MCLS §287.1122; Maryland, Md. HEALTH-GENERAL Code §18-219; Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code §10-621; Minnesota, Minn. Stat. § 97A.041; Minn. R. 1715.0020, 6244.2200,6244.2400; Mississippi, Miss. Code §49-8-7; CMSR 19-000(circus must apply for exemption from permitting requirements); Missouri, §578.023 R.S.Mo.; Nebraska, R.R.S. Neb. §54-2305; Nevada, NAC 504.486; Illinois,720 ILCS 585/1 (though escape proof enclosures are required); Oklahoma, 29 Okl. St. §4-107.1; Iowa, Iowa Code §§717F.1, 717F.7 (as long as the circus obtains a permit from the city where the performance is held); Wisconsin, Wis. Stat. §169.04; Pennsylvania, 34 Pa. Const. Stat. 2965(nationally recognized circus); South Carolina, S.C. Code §50-16-40; Virginia, 4 Va. Admin. Code §15-30-40(as long as Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries is notified of the circus); Washington, WA Rev. Code §16.30.020.
More and more states are requiring circuses to be licensed or obtain a permit:
Alaska, 5 Alaska Admin. Code 92.035 (non-indigenous game or indigenous animals imported into the state);California (requires circuses to notify local animal control of upcoming performance and also has regulations governing the care and treatment of circus animals) Cal Health & Saf Code § 25989.1; 14 CCR 671.2 ,17 CCR 30074.1; Delaware, 3 Del. C. §7202 et seq., 30 Del. C. §2301; CDR 13-100-012 (housing for the animals must be inspected prior to issuance of a permit and “creatures must be receiving proper care… humane treatment and veterinary treatment, if required. The State veterinarian may consult with the local Society for tile Protection of Cruelty to Animals (the “S.P.C.A.”) to enforce the provisions of this rule”); Georgia, O.C.G.A. §§ 27-2-13, 27-5-4,-5, -6 (if the circus donates 10% of the proceeds for “charitable uses in the state, the circus ” shall not be required to purchase a wild animal license but shall be required to obtain the license, at no charge, from the department; provided, however, all other provisions of this chapter and all regulations relating to the humane handling, care, and confinement of wild animals must be complied with“);Idaho, §36-701,IDAPA 02.04.27.101; 13.01.10.010, 13.01.10.400 (requirements for caging and humane treatment); Kentucky, 301 KAR 2:081, 2:082; 302 KAR 20:040; Louisiana, LAC 76:V.115, (bears, wolves, mountain lions and non-human primates); New Hampshire, RSA 207:14; N.H. Admin. Rules, Fis 810.01, .02, .07 (regulations for housing and treatment except for animals already covered by USDA license); New Jersey, N.J.A.C. 7:25-4.6, .14-.15; New Mexico, NMAC 126.96.36.199 (a permit is required but state law provides for expedited approval of circuses in the state temporarily); New York, NY CLS ECL §§11-0103, -0515; 6 NYCRR §§175.2, 180.1; North Carolina, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 106-516.1 (requires permit for circuses to perform in counties having county fairs); N.C. Gen. Stat. § 153A-131- N.C. Gen. Stat. § 160A-187(counties and cities may ban or regulate dangerous animals ); N.C. Gen. Stat. § 113-272.5, –274, -291.3 et seq;, 15A N.C.A.C. 10H (captivity license or permit may be required);.N.C. Gen. Stat. §§19A-10, 11 et seq. (no black bears allowed); North Dakota, N.D. Cent. Code, §53-05-03, §36-01-00.1; N.D. Admin. Code 48-12-01.1-01, -04, -05, -07, -10, -13; 48-12-02.1-01 (requires circus promoters to file a copy of the contract in the county where the performance is to take place and otherwise regulates housing of animals); Ohio, O.R.S.§3765.01, (provides that a “proprietor, or his agent, of a traveling public show, shall not exhibit a natural or artificial curiosity, or exhibit horsemanship in a circus, or otherwise, for a price, until a permit has been obtained from the county auditor of the county in which it is intended to exhibit“); Rhode Island, R.I. Gen. Laws §4-18-3;CRIR 12-020-030; South Dakota, S.D. Codified Laws §40-14-2; ARSD 12:68:18:03, 12:68:18:03.01-.06;Tennessee, Tenn. Code §§70-4-401 et seq.;Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 1660-1-18-.02, -.04 (permitting scheme with regulations for care of exotic animals); Utah, U.A.C. R657-3, et seq.;-18 U.A.C. R657-53-24 (animals must be kept in humane and healthy conditions); Vermont, 31 V.S.A. §§404, 406; 10 V.S.A. §§10, 4709; Wyoming, Wyo. Stat. §33-6-101.
In Oregon, under a 2009 law, circuses are no longer exempt from state permitting requirements and other regulations for possession and handling of wild animals. ORS 609.315; ORS § 609.305-.335; Or. Admin. R. 603-011-0381.
There are, of course, state and local animal cruelty laws. These laws are rarely invoked to protect circus animals. Colorado specifically exempts circus animals from its animal protection laws. C.R.S. 35-80-103. A 2008 Utah law states circus animals are not animals and instead are “creatures” not subject to protection under the state’s animal cruelty law. Utah Code § 76-9-301