PETA’s California Circus Bill is a Trojan Horse

PETA: Ethical? No. Deceptive? Yes.

In what seems to be an episode in its misleading campaign to ban animals, PETA is pushing California lawmakers to ban any facility from traveling with wild or exotic animals.  The bill, so-called “Circus Cruelty Prevention Act,” isn’t meant to target circuses but rather small groups that exhibit animals for educational purposes.

The bill, introduced by accused drunk driver State Sen. Bill Hueso, would seek to limit anyone who uses animals ranging from camels to kangaroos from being able to travel with their animals unless they’re accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums or the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Noncompliance with the act would result in a $25,000 fine, a detrimental price to pay for a mom and pop business.

What does that mean?

Do you enjoy seeing a realistic Nativity scenes? Too bad.

Think animal outreach groups who bring animals to schools to educate kids about the beauty of nature are great? Sorry.

Those are just a few examples of what will happen should this bill pass.

The bill is unnecessary because it completely sidesteps the fact that the nearly 300 exhibitors are licensed, accredited, and monitored by the US Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Forcing them to join one of two accreditation programs reeks of collusion. Regarding the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, AZA members are typically large zoos. Forcing smaller exhibitors to join doesn’t seem appropriate. But AZA is likely included in the bill because its CEO, Dan Ashe, is sympathetic to animal rights extremists. He is longtime friends with alleged serial sexual harasser Wayne Pacelle of HSUS and gave Pacelle a prime speaking slot in 2017. AZA also allowed PETA to exhibit at its conference last year. (Even though PETA openly wants to shut down every zoo and aquarium, including AZA members. It’s mind-bogglingly naïve—at best.)

The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, meanwhile, is little more than a front group for anti-zoo activists. GFAS is not exactly some kind of gold standard. GFAS accredited Chimps, Inc., a sanctuary in Oregon that was cited for alleged safety violations, for instance.

PETA doesn’t care though. PETA is ultimately against animal ownership—including pets—and it will do whatever it can to advance that agenda bit by bit.