City Council Passes Exotic Animal Ban
Posted by Melissa Simon on Sep 16, 2013 - 4:16:16 PM
WEST HOLLYWOOD—In a unanimous vote on September 16, the West
Hollywood City Council passed an ordinance banning commercial displays and
performances involving wild and exotic animals.
At the meeting, more than a dozen people on both sides of
the issue spoke to members of the Council, according to reports, which led to
several shouting matches.
Council members Jeffrey Prang and John Duran proposed the
ordinance, which is “intended to protect wild and exotic animals from cruel and
inhumane treatment,” according to city documents. The ban includes the
following: circus acts, carnival performances, trade shows and parades
involving animals as well as any event that would require animals to do tricks,
fight or perform “for the entertainment, amusement or benefit of an audience,”
as stated in the ordinance.
“We believe this should be adopted under state law,” Prang
said. “The legislature has not seemed fit to take it up so cities are adopting
them on a city by city basis.”
Councilman Jeffrey Prang
Displays of wild or exotic animals for educational purposes
or to groups of 20 or less are not included in the ban because the ordinance
states that small audiences limit “the potential risk or danger to the public.”
Film productions with permits are also exempt from the ordinance because the
American Humane Association monitors animal welfare during productions.
“Many of us, including myself as a child, you know I went to
the circus and I enjoyed it, but when you sit back and think about it just a
bit, these animals are wild, they’re captured, they’re trained either using
severe discipline or sever reward, and they’re just not allowed to be in their
natural state,” Duran said.
Jan Creamer, president of the Animal Defenders
International, sent a letter to Prang commending the ordinance and thanking the
city for considering it.
“We fully support creative entertainment using human
performers, but this should not include the use of animals,” she wrote.
Paul O’Sullivan, a spokesperson for Have Trunk Will Travel,
said the ban is silly. Kari Johnson, the owner of Have Trunk Will Travel, said
she is disappointed in the ban.
“I love that you love animals, but this is so not fair,” she
said. “What they’re telling you about us is not true.”
The ordinance contains a list of more than two dozen animals
that are considered wild or exotic, including: monkeys, tigers, elephants,
ostriches, bears, badgers, kangaroos, giraffes, tapirs, armadillos and civets,
This is not the first time the city has considered bans when
it comes to animal rights. The following are some of the animal rights bans
considered in the past:
Â· 1989: Resolution passed declaring West Hollywood
a “cruelty-free zone for animals” and banning cosmetic testing on animals and
steel leg-hold traps
Â· 2003: Cat declawing banned
Â· 2010: Retail sale of cats and dogs banned
Â· 2011: Sale of apparel made of fur banned, making
West Hollywood the first municipalities to do so. The ban is set to take affect
on September 21, 2013
West Hollywood now joins Huntington Beach, Corona, Pasadena,
Santa Ana, Irvine, Rohnert Park and Encinitas as cities that ban public animal
Matt Bruce, from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
(PETA), applauded West Hollywood’s decision to join other cities.
“There’s no excuse for subjecting elephants, tigers and
other such animals to use for showmanship,” he said.