Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus companies are fighting back over a bill proposed in Congress that would outlaw exotic or wild animals
from performances if they have been traveling within the previous 15 days, AFP reports.
This would make it nearly impossible for traveling shows like the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey to feature animals such as elephants, tigers, lions and monkeys - acts that have been their mainstays for generations.
Representative Jim Moran (D-Va.) proposed the bill with support from two animal rights groups, Animal Defenders International and the Performing Animal Welfare Society. They claim that traveling circuses are not able to provide proper care for the animals.
"The fact is traveling circuses, by virtue of the fact that they're constantly moving, it’s impossible to meet the basic needs of these animals," Matt Rossell, campaign director for ADI, told Politico.
Animal rights groups say they have "mounting video and photographic evidence" that the conditions for animals in a circus are not adequate. However, circus executives argue that their shows actually help preserve some species, such as the Asian elephants, thanks to their herd that has had 23 births since 1995. Ringling execs, who argue that this bill is designed to put them out of business, also point to the conservation programs for elephants that they fund in the U.S. and abroad.