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Ban the Acts Action Alerts

  1. If your town is planning to host a circus, suggest an animal-free circus. Show the sponsors a video, available from The Humane Society of the United States or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, on the truth about the circus. 
  2. If a circus with wild animals is scheduled for your area, write letters of protest to the editors of local newspapers. Ask sponsors to withdraw their support. If this doesn't stop the circus, organize a peaceful demonstration handing out leaflets outside the circus.  Be sure to send a press release to the media about your protest.
  3. Report any animal abuse you see or hear of to the proper authorities—the U.S. Department of Agriculture, your local animal control agency, and the local humane society—and follow through with publicity. It is easier to enact a local ordinance or state law after a well-documented incident of abuse has occurred.
  4. Start a campaign to end animal acts in your community. Urge your state and/or local legislatures to enact laws or ordinances banning circuses with animals.  Click here for a list of local bans on animal acts from across the United States. Write to PETA for an Animal Display Ban pack at:

Animal Display Ban Pack
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510

   5.   Ask the USDA to enforce existing Animal Welfare Act laws at circuses and other animal act events.

Reporting Animal Abuse

What to Do about AWA Violations

The Animal Welfare Act is administered by the Animal Care division of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The main area where APHIS receives information form the public is in the care and treatment of animals used in entertainment.

If you witness an animal at an exhibition (roadside zoo, circus, carnival, marine mammal show, zoological park, etc.) with inadequate food, water, space, or veterinary care, report the incident to APHIS. You can call or write a letter giving details of the incident, and the agency will send an investigator to the site. Contact the office nearest to you.

Eastern Region

(Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylavania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Virgin Islands, West Virginia, Wisconsin)

USDA/APHIS/Animal Care
920 Main Campus Drive, Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27606-5210
Fax 919-716-5696

Central Region

(Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas)

USDA/APHIS/Animal Care
P.O. Box 915004 (letters)
501 Felix St, Bldg. #11 (packages)
Fort Worth, TX 76115-9104
Fax 817-885-6917

Western Region

(Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)

USDA/APHIS/Animal Care
9580 Micron Ave. Suite J
Sacramento, CA 95827-2623
Fax 916-857-6212

APHIS's useful Web site,, includes information about routine and complaint inspections of all individuals and facilities licensed under the Animal Welfare Act.

The APHIS Animal Care home page includes a "missing and found pets" page that allows people to advertise missing or found cats and dogs, and to include photos. This service also lets research institutions check to make sure they don't accept lost or stolen companion animals.

APHIS has the authority to take custody of animals whose safety is in imminent danger. Even if agents feel that the situation does not merit such serious action, they will set deadlines for correcting the mistreatment. If the exhibitor does not improve conditions by the deadline, penalties can be assessed and licenses revoked. Given the alarming number of animals displayed for profit, citizens must participate in enforcing the laws for abusers to be disciplined.

Remember that animals and facilities not covered under the AWA may be covered by your state anti-cruelty or wildlife statutes; in many cases, the animals may be covered by both. Your local librarian, or law library if you have access to one, can help you obtain information about or copies of federal or state laws.


Anti-Circus Ad

Circus Brochure

Circus Checker

Circus Cruelty

Circus Flyer for Kids

Kids Coloring Book

Circus Footage and Public Service Announcements


WANT TO DO EVEN MORE?  Go to our action alerts page.