West Hollywood News
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.
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, among others.
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:
· 1989: Resolution passed declaring West Hollywood a “cruelty-free zone for animals” and banning cosmetic testing on animals and steel leg-hold traps
· 2003: Cat declawing banned
· 2010: Retail sale of cats and dogs banned
· 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 performances.
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.
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