Moran Bills Give Animals a Break from Greasepaint and Traveling Show Grind

Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) has introduced bills to remedy two different animal welfare problems. The first, HR 4148, the Humane Cosmetics Act, prohibits testing cosmetics on animals and also the sale of any cosmetics or ingredients that have been tested on animals. Animal-based tests used for these products are not only inhumane but also scientifically unreliable for predicting the effect of a product on humans. Contrary to popular belief, the US Food and Drug Administration does not require animal-based safety testing of cosmetics or their individual components. And as Rep. Moran noted in an essay published in Scientific American on May 28, 2014, reliable alternatives to animal testing, such as use of cell lines, artificial skin, and computer models, have been developed. “Many multinational companies have embraced these alternative test methods, reducing and in some cases eliminating their dependence on animal testing. As a result, they cut costs and save time.” California, New Jersey, and New York already prohibit the use of animals for product testing when validated alternatives are available, and the California legislature recently passed a resolution urging Congress to take this step. Such a ban went into effect in the European Union in March 2013.

The second bill, HR 4525, the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, would restrict the use of a wild or exotic animal in an act if that animal had been on the road during the 15 days prior to the time it was to be used in the act. By their very nature, traveling exhibits are inhumane. They confine complex, social animals on chains in barren, cramped enclosures for hours and days on end. For many animals, these so-called “temporary” traveling structures are their permanent enclosures. Even when the animals are let out, if they are not performing, they are kept chained or their movements are otherwise severely restricted. Moreover, many operations use cruel training methods, and force animals to perform tricks and engage in behaviors that are unnatural and stressful. Internationally, 27 countries have taken steps to end the misery caused by traveling shows, and Mexico City is poised to join six Mexican states in banning the use of animals in circuses. In the United States, a number of localities regulate or prohibit animal displays. The Los Angeles City Council recently banned, via unanimous vote, the “the use of bullhooks … , baseball bats, axe handles, pitchforks or other implements and tools designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training and controlling the behavior of elephants.” The ban goes into effect in 2017.