The entertainment capital of the world has declared a ban on the archaic practice of training wild and exotic animals for entertainment purposes. The LA city council unanimously voted on the ban spearheaded by Councilman David Ryu and prohibits the exhibition and ultimate exploitation of wild animals for entertainment including circuses, other wild animal shows, public displays, and rentals for events or house parties. (Not cool, Mike Tyson!)
Ok, maybe Mike Tyson can have his personal pet, but this reform specifically bans animals used for entertainment when they are typically trained using pain and fear. This ban comes after a 2014 policy outlawing the use of bullhooks to corral captive elephants and was the main catalyst for Ringling bros to stop using elephants in their shows all together.
This is the beginning for the city 15-member city council to outline a plan for how to enforce the rules going forward, but the initial ban is extremely forward thinking especially in the U.S. where the only other city to have a similar policy is San Francisco and other regions Idaho, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and North Carolina. LA is by far the largest jurisdiction.
Earlier this year, Ringling which is one of the biggest names is the industry, announced it was shutting down their entire circus which includes a variety of wild animals. Without Ringling, the circus may be entertainment from the past. The public is now far more educated on the conditions and cruelty involved in training the animals and circus companies simply cannot meet the humane needs of animals without effectively getting them to comply. Animals are unwilling performers carted around in small cages, physically abused and overworked to exhaustion on tight schedules. A 2015 study stated that 69 percent of Americans are concerned about the use of wild animals in circuses an article in Forbes magazine, stated that circus attendance in the US has dropped 30 to 50 percent over the last 20 years. Industry profits went dow nine percent Gross between 2007 and 2012.
It is clear that forms of animal entertainment imposes cruelty onto the animals, but it also puts human lives in danger. Over the past few years there have been many attacks on trainers and occasionally the public is at risk when animals get loose. The presence of animals in live shows and movies and television is dying down and replaced in part by other forms of technology. One day we will look back as this being a sinister practice from the dark ages and wonder how we could have let it continue for so long.
Thank you David Ryu for pushing bureaucracy in the right direction!