Virginia Congressman Jim Moran joined celebrity animal rights advocate Bob Barker, Jorja Fox, and others to announce legislation to restrict the use of exotic animals in traveling circuses.
The speakers highlighted the "cruel and stressful conditions observed in traveling circus shows and their detrimental effect on exotic animals."
Supporters of the measure say 20 countries have already passed similar legislation. The exotic animal protection act would restrict the use of lions, tigers and elephants in these shows.
Barker says these animals live horrible lives.
"They never know a day that is really pleasurable," he says. "And finally after 20, 30 maybe even 40 years they die and that day that they die is probably the best day of their lives."
Arlington mother Diana Joffe recently took her 3-year-old to the circus but hopes her family tradition isn't taking place at the expense of animals being mistreated.
"I don't necessarily think it would be a problem for the kids if the animals weren't a part of the show, so the ban might be okay," she says. "But I think there have to be strict standards."