Congress is sometimes compared to a circus, but Rep. James P. Moran Jr (D-Va.) wasn’t talking about his own employer when he publicly criticized circuses Wednesday.
Instead, Moran joined former “The Price Is Right” host Bob Barker and actress Jorja Fox at a press conference to unveil the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, a bill to restrict the use of some exotic animals by circuses.
“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 ...” Moran said. “Keeping elephants in chains, confining lions and tigers in small cages, forcing them to perform unnatural tricks for the sole purpose of human amusement is increasingly difficult to justify the more we learn about these intelligent, social creatures.”
The bill follows media reports on the conditions of animals in travelling circuses. It “would end the keeping of animals for extended periods in temporary facilities, and the cruel training and control methods employed by circuses and address public safety issues,” according to a Moran press release.
In response to Moran’s legislation, Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. Circus, said in a statement: “The bill is designed to censor entertainment and remove the right to let the American public choose for itself whether Ringling Bros. Circus, a 141-year old American institution, can continue to operate. ... The bill’s underlying false premise regarding the transport and care of circus animals is directly contradicted by sound science and animal husbandry best practices.”
Feld Entertainment’s corporate headquarters is located in Vienna, in Moran’s district.