PAWS Advocacy:
Turning the Tide for Wild Animals
in Entertainment
Since 1984, PAWS has been rescuing captive wild animals and providing lifelong sanctuary for them - giving animals in need a safe and more natural life far away from the miseries they once endured in roadside zoos, circuses, backyard menageries, and the exotic "pet" trade. From the start, we knew that we also had to change public perception about the use of wild animals in circuses and other "entertainment," or the suffering would never end.
PAWS was one of the first organizations to document and expose circus cruelty and advocate on behalf of wild animals subjected to unnatural lives defined by deprivation, cruel training, intensive confinement, and constant transport from city to city. In a 2011 article, "The Cruelest Show on Earth", Mother Jones named PAWS co-founder, the late Pat Derby, the circus' "no. 1 antagonist." All the while, PAWS has provided sanctuary for refugees from circuses, such as lioness Camba and elephants Nicholas, Prince (pictured above) and Gypsy who are currently in our care.
Since PAWS' founding in 1984,
our sanctuaries have been home to many animals rescued from circuses. Camba (above), who came from a circus in Bolivia, today enjoys a large, natural habitat at ARK 2000.
After years of hard work by PAWS and many other dedicated organizations and individuals, the tides are really turning! In September alone, two more major cities banned the use of wild animals in circuses and traveling shows: A unanimous vote made Portland the first city in Maine to pass this legislation, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, prohibited the use of wild and exotic animal acts. Even more places are considering similar action, including Baltimore County and Montgomery County in Maryland.
Santa Fe and Portland follow in the steps of New York City's prohibition on wild animals in circuses earlier this year and a PAWS-led ban on wild animals in entertainment in Los Angeles for which the ordinance is being drafted. The state of Illinois recently made history by barring the use of elephants in traveling shows. More than 100 U.S. localities now regulate the use of captive wildlife.
Perhaps the most dramatic sign of change was the curtain coming down on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in May. PAWS is proud of its part in passing bans on cruel bullhooks in Los Angeles and Oakland, California - the first cities to enact bans where large circuses actually performed - that preceded Ringling's remarkable decision to abandon its trademark elephant acts in 2016 and then shut down altogether. In 2016 PAWS teamed up to ban bullhooks statewide in California and Rhode Island, ensuring elephants would never again be forced to perform or give rides under threat of this menacing weapon designed to control elephants through fear and pain.
PAWS has always recognized that the only way to end the suffering of captive wild animals is to address the root problem: their use as entertainment. This includes circuses, "pay to pet" operations that use and abuse big cats and bears, roadside zoos, county fairs and Renaissance faires, the exotic "pet" industry, film productions, or any other place that exploits captive wildlife.
Despite the many great advances for captive wild animals, this is not the time to sit back and relax. There is much more work to be done. All of us at PAWS look forward to tackling the many difficult and often heartbreaking issues together with you. Truly, it is your support and action that make great things happen for the animals!
Take action now!
Support the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act to end the suffering of big cats in cruel "pay-to-pet" operations.  Introduced by Congressman Jeff Denham of California, this bill better protects the public and the animals, and it needs your support.
How you can help : Please call your U.S. Representative (click here to locate name and phone number). You don't have to be an expert on the issue. What is important is that your Representative knows a constituent supports the bill.
When you call:  Tell the aide who answers the phone that you live in the Representative's district, and give your zip code. Then simply say you are calling to urge the Representative to cosponsor HR 1818, the Big Cat Public Safety Act. (Click here to see if your Representative has already cosponsored the bill.) Always be calm and polite. Because few people call their legislators your call will have much more impact than an email.
Does your favorite late night talk show host feature wild animals? This is not conservation or education! Use social media to comment on the show's Facebook page and Tweet your opposition. Send an email to the show.
Initiate a performing wild animal ban in your city. Contact PAWS Director of Science, Research and Advocacy Catherine Doyle for assistance at

PAWS was honored to host Petter Granli and Dr. Joyce Poole, co-founders of ElephantVoices, at ARK 2000 in September. ElephantVoices works to advance the study of elephant cognition, communication and social behavior and to promote the scientifically sound and ethical management and care of elephants. Dr. Poole, a longtime friend of PAWS, has been studying free-living elephants for more than 40 years and dedicated her life to their conservation and to their welfare in the wild and in captivity. Pictured (L-R): ARK 2000 Sanctuary Manager Brian Busta, Petter Granli, Dr. Joyce Poole, PAWS Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jackie Gai, and PAWS President Ed Stewart.

Bob Barker and PAWS
Launch Petition to Protest Use of Live Elephant
in New Film Production
PAWS and Bob Barker have joined together on a petition asking FJ Productions to reconsider use of a live elephant in its current production of the film, Saving Flora, about an elephant fleeing a menacing circus with the help of two teens. In real life, the elephant, Tai, has been subjected to the same training methods used in abusive circuses, and has even been made to perform in circuses!
Have Trunk Will Travel, the California-based company that owns Tai, was caught on camera during a training session in which handlers forcefully struck and hooked elephants with a bullhook - a weapon resembling a fireplace poker with a sharpened metal tip and hook . Tai's owners publicly defended this outrageous practice, and have consistently opposed legislation to better protect captive elephants, including the California bullhook ban, which goes into effect in January 2018.
The petition on calls for FJ Productions to reconsider its use of Tai and instead employ a computer-generated elephant.
"There is no place for animal cruelty in entertainment," stated Mr. Barker. "Today we have the technology to replace live animals in film productions, so there is no excuse for using live elephants or other wild animals, who are cruelly trained to perform."
PAWS, Bob Barker, top celebrities, elephant sanctuaries, national animal protection organizations, and conservationists signed an open letter to FJ Productions, urging the company to replace Tai with a computer-generated elephant.
Read the letter here and then sign the petition! Ask your friends, family and co-workers to sign, and please share on social media.
PAWS thanks our celebrity friends who signed the open letter:  Bob Barker, Kim Basinger, Jorja Fox, Ross McCall, Kevin Nealon, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Betty Thomas, and Lily Tomlin.

Stronger Together:
Big Cat Sanctuary Conference
PAWS was pleased to participate in the recent Big Cat Sanctuary Conference, presented in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and hosted by The Wildcat Sanctuary. The conference serves the big cat sanctuary community by providing informative sessions on topics ranging from geriatric care and successful internship programs, to habitat planning and design, crisis planning, and fundraising. Attendees are encouraged to network and learn from one another throughout the conference.
Next year's conference will be presented by the newly formed Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance (BCSA), for which PAWS is a Steering Committee member. The BCSA is the only professional sanctuary organization advocating for the welfare of captive big cats and wild felids, with the mission to eliminate private ownership and the commercial exploitation of wild cats in the United States. Membership is open to n on-profit sanctuaries that operate a place of refuge for abused, neglected, unwanted, impounded, abandoned, orphaned or displaced big cats in need of lifetime care , and to organizations or individuals who support the mission of the BCSA through advocacy, funding, or professional services, or provides related services, such as rehabilitation of native wild cats. All members must support the values and mission of the BCSA.
For more information on the BCSA, please visit .

Rock and Roll for PAWS

A big thank you to the members of the rock band Styx (pictured above) for selecting us to be one of the recipients of their "Rock to the Rescue" donation at the September 17th concert in Jackson, California. Money raised went to PAWS and to the Houston SPCA for animal victims of hurricane Harvey. We're very grateful!

Thank you  Amazon Wish List Donors
Leslie Born: one 5-pound bag of Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat; one 5 lb. tub of Psyllium. Sally L Clontz: one box of 42-gallon trash bags, one 60 pack of AAA batteries, one 100 pack of AA batteries. Yuliya Pangburn: one 20-pound tub of Psyllium. Anonymous Donors: one gallon of Red Cell, one 5-pound bag of Missing Ultimate Skin & Coat.
View wish list items that are needed,
but not listed on the Amazon list, here.

There are many ways you can help PAWS animals:
Adopt A PAWS Animal
If you would like to help our animals, one of the best ways is to become an "adoptive parent," or give a PAWS adoption as a gift to an animal lover in your life. PAWS adoptions are symbolic adoptions only. No animal will be sent!
PAWS Amazon Wish List

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List items on EBAY and choose PAWS as your charity. Donate a percentage of each sale to the animals. Visit our EBAY charity listing page here. Start selling and buying/bidding!

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and Matching Fund Programs
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PO Box 849
Galt, CA 95632
(209) 745-2606