“A common question is, ‘Are we banning the circus?’ No one wants to ban wonderful memories of the circus — but we certainly do want to identify and eradicate what many see as mistreatment of animals in that process, whether it is the way they are cared for, trained, caged or transported,” said council President Bruce Kraus.
The ordinance he proposed on Tuesday, May 3rd calls for “prohibiting the performance of wild or exotic animals for public entertainment or amusement,” specifically in shows such as circuses and roadside displays.
It aims “to protect wild and exotic animals from cruel and inhumane treatment and to protect the public from danger posed by the use of wild and exotic animals for entertainment.” Performing lions, tigers and bears would be prohibited, as would other animals including camels, elephants and monkeys. Anteaters, crocodiles, emus, mongooses and sloths are on the list, too.
Educational, research, rehabilitative and some accredited programs would however be exempt, such as the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, The National Aviary and the Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center.
The ordinance, based on a similar San Francisco rule enacted a year ago, could come up for discussion and a preliminary vote by council as soon as May 11th. Final passage could follow six days later, and the mayor would have 10 days to sign it.
Mr. Kraus said Pittsburgh’s ordinance focuses on the “humane treatment of the animals” and would establish the city as a progressive leader.
After using pachyderms in its performances for more than 200 years, Ringling Brothers retired its elephants Sunday amid criticism from animal rights activists. Its herd of 40 Asian elephants will live at Ringling’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida.
Sea World also announced this year that it would end live orca shows and breeding.
WCCLAS News Staff
UPDATE: Tuesday, May 10, 2016: Pittsburgh City Council postponed voting on the “controversial” ordinance that would prohibit circuses and other events from featuring live animal acts. Council President Bruce Kraus, the bill’s sponsor, said the Council’s vote is being delayed until after a public hearing is held. No word on when the hearing will be scheduled.