MSPCA-Angell Lauds Topsfield Voters for Banning Wild Animals from Performing in Circuses

The Town Joins Nine Other Massachusetts Municipalities that have Sided with Animals over Profit

BOSTON, May 8, 2019—The MSPCA-Angell applauds last night’s passage of Topsfield Warrant Article 33, a citizen’s petition to prohibit wild or exotic animals in traveling exhibits and circuses inside the town lines.  The vote passed with strong support despite a vigorous debate, and protects a wide swath of species from the abuse and exploitation inherent to circuses and traveling exhibits.

The ban specifically applies to elephants, lions, tigers, ocelots, cheetahs, jaguars, cougars, lynx, bears, giraffes, camels, zebras, kangaroos and all non-human primates.

The MSPCA credits local citizen advocate Martha Sanders for her lead role.  “We’re so grateful to Martha for launching and leading this successful effort to protect wild and exotic animals from abuse in entertainment,” said Elizabeth Magner, animal advocacy specialist at the MSPCA-Angell.  “Topsfield now joins nine other Massachusetts municipalities with similar bans—each of which represent a huge win for animals.”

Wild animals that perform in circuses are subjected to neglect, abusive training and near-constant confinement.  Many, including elephants and big cats, are transported in cramped and dingy trailers for many weeks throughout the year, sometimes in extreme heat or cold.

To date more than 40 countries worldwide, six U.S. states, and nearly 150 localities across 37 statesincluding nine cities and towns in Massachusetts: Braintree, Cambridge, Quincy, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Provincetown, Revere, Somerville, and Weymouthhave passed restrictions on the use of wild animals for entertainment.

The MSPCA continues to press for greater protections for animals typically used in circuses and is working to pass S. 2028 and H. 2934: An Act Relative to the Use of Elephants, Big Cats, Primates and Bears in Traveling Exhibits and Shows.

The bills, which have been referred to the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, would prohibit the use of elephants, big cats, primates and bears in traveling shows in all of Massachusetts.  For more information on the bill—including how citizen advocates can help ensure its passage into law—click here.

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