Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Blaine County Idaho passes ban on use of wild animals in circuses

Posted: 26 May 2015

May 26, 2015, HAILEY, ID – Animal Defenders International (ADI) applauds the Blaine County Commissioners Chairman Jacob Greenberg, Vice Chairman Angenie McCleary, and Commissioner Lawrence Schoen for unanimously voting to ban the use of wild animals in circuses in their county. The ban was passed during today’s County Commissioners Meeting, held this morning.

Last April, 2014 students from Sage School between grades six and nine presented evidence to support the ordinance as a culmination of their research from an independent study group, “The Elephant Student Project.” Local ADI supporter and facilitator for the students, Maya Burrell, shared ADI’s evidence of animal abuse in circuses, scientific evidence and economic data, showing the inherent suffering and public safety issues surrounding the use of wild animals in traveling circuses. At the most recent meeting on May 12, 2015, County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tim Graves presented a draft ordinance which had been requested by the Commission. Ms. Burrell and Sage Students Harrison Blamires, Devon Brown, Kayla Chaffey, Gabe Delgado, Evathea Drougas, Will Griffith, Sam Laski, Willa Laski, and Warren Loving have been working for more than a year on this effort and Willa Laski attended this morning’s meeting to thank the Commissioners for passing the ban.

Jan Creamer, ADI President: “We applaud the Blaine County Commissioners for making this compassionate decision, and are impressed with the Sage Students who have empowered themselves and educated their communities to make a difference for animals. All around the world, towns, cities and national legislators are ending the use of wild animals in circuses and measures like this are how to end the suffering of elephants, lions, tigers, bears and other animals in traveling circuses.”

Ms. Burrell said: “I am so proud of these bright students and we are grateful to be able to bring the suffering of circus animals into public light. I thank each of these Commissioners for standing up against this injustice with their decision to protect wild animals with a ban.”

Blaine County has joined the growing number of cities and counties in the United States that have restricted wild animals in traveling circuses, including a ban in nearby Ketchum, Idaho which this student group helped to usher in last year. Thirty one countries have now banned the use of wild animals or certain species in traveling circuses, including three in Central America, five in South America, and several in Europe. With Hawaii’s governor David Ige recent pledge to end wild animal acts there, Hawaii will likely soon be the first US state to ban the use of wild animals in circuses, and ADI is working with Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach who recently introduced a bill aiming to ban wild animals in circuses there. There are increasing calls for action, including the recent ban on all wild animal performances in San Francisco, and with the retirement of Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA), ADI is looking for a new sponsor to reintroduce the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act in US Congress, which, if passed, would restrict the use of wild animals in traveling circuses throughout the United States.

Studies of the use of wild animals in traveling circuses show that circuses cannot meet the physical or behavioral needs of wild animals. Animals are confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time shut in transporters. These animals are often seen behaving abnormally; rocking, swaying and pacing, all indicating that they are in distress and not coping with their environment. ADI’s video evidence has shown how these animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear and intimidation.

Lori De Waal: 818-817-4444 e:
ADI Media Desk: 323-804-9920 e:

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