Actress and animal-rights activist Olivia Munn isn’t shy about speaking out against circuses. After all, she bared all on a 2010 PETA billboard calling for circus boycotts and participated in an anti-Ringling Bros. protest. Now the star is at it again, this time supporting a bill that would end the use of animals in traveling circuses.
Munn took to Twitter to support the bill, linking to an article about the ban and describing it as “THE PERFECT way to start 2012.” The bill, H.R. 3359, is co-sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado, and has gained support from at least 12 other representatives.
According to the Colorado Independent, H.R. 3359 “would amend the Animal Welfare Act to restrict the use of exotic and non-domesticated animals in traveling circuses and exhibitions. The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, as it is known, specifically aims to outlaw all exotic and wild animals from performing if, within 15 days of a show, they had been traveling in mobile shelters.”
Representative Polis’s camp spoke to the paper, saying that, “Congressman Polis is a strong supporter of animal rights and is concerned about the treatment of animals in circuses.”
The bill was introduced to Congress last November, by Rep. James Moran of Virginia. Upon introducing the bill, he said, “Based upon publicly available research, including video and photographic evidence, it is clear that traveling circuses cannot provide the proper living conditions for exotic animals. This legislation is intended to target the most egregious situations involving exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses.”
Not only is the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act striving to save animals, it also introduces an element of human safety, stating, “animals in traveling circuses pose an additional risk to public safety because such animals have wild instincts and needs and have demonstrated unpredictability; 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; [and] traveling circuses bring people dangerously close to exotic and non-domesticated animals by displaying animals in inappropriate, uncontrolled areas … not suited for … such animals.”
For more info on the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, click over to GovTrack to read the full text of the bill.
If it passes, circuses will have one year to comply with the new laws.