Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Circus Animal Protection stalls at Los Angeles City Hall

Posted: 23 October 2013

Los Angeles, October 23, 2013 - Animal Defenders International (ADI) have expressed dismay that Los Angeles City Council today dropped the end of elephant acts in favor of a ban on bullhooks – and then delayed implementation for three years.

Due to the inevitable suffering caused to animals in circuses, ADI always recommends a prohibition on the use of either all animals, or wild animals in traveling circuses.

ADI expressed concerns to the Councilmembers about the value of only banning the ‘bullhook’ – an implement used to move and control elephants – especially with no clear plans on how this would be enforced; it does not deal with the major suffering caused by constant travel and confinement and does not protect elephants or other wild animals from brutal treatment.

However, hopes that a new circus animal ordinance would be a stepping-stone towards greater protection for circus animals in LA were dashed when the City Council voted for a ban only on bullhooks, leaving elephants and other animals unprotected, and then postponed the ban for three years.

ADI is responsible for the recent bans on animal circuses in Greece, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru and recently succeeded with government-backed proposals for a wild animal circus ban in the UK. ADI has also helped secure bans on wild animal circuses in towns, cities and counties across the US.

Jan Creamer, President of ADI: “This is a sham. It will be three years before the Council can enforce this ban and it will probably take another two before any real assessment can be made of whether it is effective. We advised the Council that this bullhook ban leaves animals vulnerable to abuse and does not deal with the extreme suffering caused by the living conditions.

“It was misleading for the Council to compare this ordinance to the very effective animal circus bans achieved by cities like Barcelona and countries like Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia. Over twenty countries and hundreds of cities have looked at the evidence and taken the decisive move to ban wild animal acts. Los Angeles is years behind.”

Previously a ban on using bullhooks in Fulton County saw a circus continue to use elephants in shows but using bamboo canes to control them.

Jan Creamer “We had concerns about this ordinance and whether it will have a significant impact on the welfare of animals in circuses. Certainly it does not address the major problems these animals face, which is severe confinement, deprived environments and inability to move about to exercise their bodies and minds. We are concerned that the circuses may simply adapt their shows and the worst abuses and suffering will remain.“

ADI regard the extensive phase out period for something so limited as a bullhook ban as bizarre. Phase-outs are normally used where there are prohibitions on animal use in circuses, to give owners time to sell or relocate their animals. Bolivia brought in a full ban on all animal acts in a year; Peru and Colombia set two-year phase-outs for wild animal acts. In the UK, circuses will be given to the end of 2015 to rehome their animals


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