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There is some misunderstanding about the proposed Traveling Animal Protection Act, SB21-135, which is aimed at ending wild animal performances in traveling circuses, county fairs and similar venues.

SB21-135 only applies to a set of specifically listed species such as lions, tigers, elephants, and seals, among others. It has no impact on rodeos, stock shows, 4H clubs, or ranching. Livestock and alternative livestock are clearly excluded in the bill language.

The legislation recognizes that “circus” animals spend up to 90% of their lives in cages or confinement, and are let out only during “performances,” which are involuntary acts often necessitating the use of chains, prods, whips or electric shock. Carted from town to town, often in unprotected trailers, these animals are exposed to extreme weather, exhaust fumes and loud noises. As a result of lengthy travel they often lack adequate veterinary care, suffer debilitating conditions like arthritis, and are fed a diet that is nutritionally insufficient for their species.

The proposed law does not affect accredited zoos, sanctuaries, or aquariums, nor does it prohibit the use of animals for educational purposes including traveling for educational, scientific or breeding, purposes.

The law would only apply to:

Cetartiodactyla – even toed ungulates, for example giraffes and camels;

Felidae – lions. tigers, leopards, and ocelots;

Wild Canidae - Wolves, African Dogs, etc.;

Marsupialia – kangaroos, koala bears;

Non-human primates – great apes, monkeys, lemurs;

Perissodactyla – odd toed ungulates – zebras, rhinos, tapirs;

Pinnipedia – mammals with flippers – seals, walrus, sea lions;

Proboscidea – trunked mammals – elephants;

Ratites – flightless birds – cassowary, ostrich, emu;

Spheniscidae – penguins; and

Ursidae – bears.

The proposed law does not prohibit circuses, only the use of certain animals used for performances.

It is time to end the suffering and exploitation of animals billed as public entertainment.

Roland Halpern

Executive director, Colorado Voters for Animals


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