A year after its initial introduction, a motion to ban the use of wild animals for entertainment in the city of Los Angeles has finally been passed. Council members unanimously voted in favor of the motion on April 25, and animal advocates across the country are celebrating the good news. The new ordinance means it will soon be illegal for circuses, exotic animal shows, and party rental companies to use wild animals for any and all entertainment purposes. This includes displaying animals on sidewalks and other public areas as well as renting them for house parties and events.
Council member David Ryu spearheaded the endeavor and worked closely with the Performing Animal Welfare Society to help it come to fruition. Council member Ryu stated in a recent press release, “Wild and exotic animals have a long history of being exploited for public and private entertainment. Treating animals in this manner has taught generations of people that it is okay to view wild and exotic animals as toys. Los Angeles must take action to make clear that exhibiting animals in this way is no longer in line with our City’s values.”
Brotherly love Zeus and Apollo enjoying a day in the sunshine at PAWS.
While L.A. is not the first city to enact such a law, it is by far the largest. It joins jurisdictions in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Idaho, but as the entertainment capital of country, L.A. is setting a precedence that can’t be ignored. This reform follows the city’s earlier decision to ban the use of bull hooks, which was a major factor in the decision made by Ringling Bros. to retire all elephants used in their shows.
The elephants, big cats, monkeys, and other wild animals currently living in L.A. have been captured from the wild, and others have been raised in captivity. The unanimous vote shows how the public perception of how animals are used in entertainment is changing. People are realizing that animals forced to perform often exhibit signs of extreme mental stress and anxiety. They bob their heads, sway back and forth, and sometimes cause physical harm to themselves and others. It’s an illness many call zoochosis, and L.A.’s new law is taking steps toward a cure.
As the news spreads, animal advocates hope other cities will catch on to the trend of valuing animal welfare over human entertainment.