The City of Los Angeles has officially banned the use of wild and exotic animals for entertainment purposes. The bill goes beyond just circuses and includes any events in city limits.
The Los Angeles City Council passed the unanimous vote today. The ordinance will be added to Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 53.39.1.
According to Councilmember David Ryu, wild animals have been exploited at lavish house parties in the Hollywood Hills for years. He has championed the motion since its introduction in 2016.
“The issue of wild, exotic, and even dangerous animals being used for entertainment came to our doorstep four years ago, when a baby giraffe and elephant were being marched up the Hollywood Hills for a house party,” Councilmember Ryu said in a press release. “It is time that the city of Los Angeles makes absolutely clear that this abuse of wild animals is shameful, and we will not stand for it.”
California banned the exhibition of wild and exotic animals in circuses last October with the passage of SB 313—the Circus Cruelty Prevention Act. Similar to the Los Angeles ban, the law exempts domestic dogs, cats, and horses.
What Is the Future for Circuses?
Numerous cities and countries have already passed similar bans. Greece, Malta, Bolivia, and Cyprus all have nationwide bans on animals in circuses. Austria, Bosnia, and Herzegovina have banned the use of wild animals in traveling acts.
A federal circus bill, TEAPSPA—the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act —was reintroduced in Congress in May 2019. If passed, the bill would ban the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses across the U.S.
“Allowing direct contact with dangerous wild animals is inhumane for the animals and unsafe for the public. Most people don’t know that wild animals used for public interactions have been taken from their mothers shortly after birth so they can be hand-raised and controlled,” wrote Catherine Doyle, Director of Science, Research & Advocacy at PAWS, in a letter to the City Council.
Los Angeles’ new law extends the statewide circus ban to include house parties and private entertainment events.