San Francisco Wants To Ban Wild Animal Performances

At the beginning of March, we reported that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus got rid of its elephant act, citing a "mood shift" — or, general discomfort with how the animals are treated — among consumers as part of the decision to end the performances. However, the circus still includes tigers, camels, dogs, and goats, in its repertoire.

But San Francisco, in its usual fashion, is ahead of the curve. Under a new regulation, the city is banning all performances — not only in circuses and carnivals, but also in movie and TV productions — by all wild and exotic animals.

According to SF Gate, not only will lions and tigers and bears be banned from local performances, but so will elephants, sea lions, ferrets, dolphins, ostriches, and emus. However, domestic cats, dogs and horses and livestock like cattle, sheep, pigs and goats are still allowed.

The city's board of supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday for the ordinance which is designed to "protect wild and exotic animals from cruel and inhumane treatment and to protect the public from the danger posed by the use of wild and exotic animals for entertainment."

But while the board approved the new rule, it's still unclear if it is going to pass into law. According to the Guardian, Mayor Edwin Lee has received the legislation and is now reviewing it.

Board supervisor Katy Tang, who proposed the ban last March, said that the group wanted "to address the inequalities for a population that can't speak for themselves."

And while the measure is a great feat for animal rights activists, it's clearly not sitting well with the entertainment industry. A letter from the Motion Picture Association of America opposing the ordinance argued that it would unfairly stop the filming of well-treated animals and get rid of many "good middle-class jobs" in California. The group asked the city to exempt the industry.

The board did not seem sympathetic to this view. Supervisor Scott Wiener responded by saying that the training and transportation of performing animals is "nothing less than torture."

Tang, apparently, is only gearing up for her next major move: a statewide ban, and then after that, a national one.

(h/t AP)

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