This won’t be the first time that Bob Barker and Jorja Fox have spoken up for animals. Bob Barker is a long-time animal advocate and just recently helped get three Toronto Zoo elephants retired to a sanctuary. Jorja Fox has worked with Animal Defenders International (ADI) before, joining their campaign to end animal cruelty in circuses.
Today, though, the two stars are speaking up for circus animals in a big way. Barker and Fox will join organizations including ADI in Washington, D.C. to help launch the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act. According to ADI, the bill, sponsored by Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA), would “restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses,” and end the “random cruelty and neglect” found in these circuses. ” This is the first time a bill will cover the use of all wild animals by all United States circuses.
In a press release from ADI, Barker said “Americans are becoming increasingly aware that circus animals suffer from violent training techniques and severe confinement. Big, wild animals should not be part of the traveling circus and simply put, animal acts in circuses are antiquated and belong in the past, in a time when humans were ignorant about the needs of the other species who share our planet.” Fox, star of CSI, agrees and asked Congress to act, saying “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, the least expensive solution to this problem, and long overdue. We call on Congress to bring to an end, once and for all, the abuse and suffering that has been exposed by ADI time and time again.” Other celebrity supporters of ADI’s circus campaign have included Corey and Suzy Feldman, Alicia Silverstone, Kim Basinger, Ricky Gervais, Sir Paul McCartney, Brian May and Twiggy.
ADI will also show a new video, ‘In the United States today…’, at today’s launch, featuring footage from their circus cruelty investigations, including “violence, confinement and deprivation.” ADI President Jan Creamer says of today’s event, “This is a historic day, this is about America standing up and saying these magnificent animals should not be abused in the name of entertainment. The days of animals suffering in traveling circuses are numbered not just here in the US but all over the world. 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. With the support of Bob Barker, ADI has exposed, time and again, that the use of violence to control animals is part of circus culture. In the U.S. we have seen animals beaten, whipped and electric shocked to make them perform tricks. We have shown that welfare and public safety are unacceptably compromised in traveling circuses. This brutality now needs to stop – for good.”
ADI has previously helped to achieve bans on wild animals in circuses in several other countries including Bolivia, where they then flew every circus animal out of the country and into the United States where they were relocated to sanctuaries. Legislation banning or limiting wild animal circuses has also passed in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Peru, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden and India among others, with laws currently being proposed in the UK, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Greece. The organization believes that this US bill has massive support.
You can watch the historic launch live on ADI’s website this morning at 10:30am EST.