Sorry, Dumbo: L.A. City Council Wants to Ban Circus Elephants

Elephants in traveling shows could join condoms and plastic bags in the list of things L.A. wants to ban.
Elephants in traveling shows could join condoms and plastic bags in the list of things L.A. wants to ban.

Within the next six months, you will no longer be able to buy a pet from a pet store in Los Angeles. You won't be able to shoot a porn without the actors sheathing up. And plastic bags? The city council has banned those too.

So what's next?

Elephants. Specifically, circuses with elephants.

Spurred by the Los Angeles-based Animal Defenders International, or ADI, the L.A. City Council's Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee voted Tuesday to send the full Council legislation banning the use of elephants in traveling shows and exhibits that stop within city limits.

In its release, ADI says three different options now go to the full council for its consideration: The first would be an ordinance prohibiting the use of elephants in traveling shows and exhibitions.The second would prohibit "any public performance-related context the use of bullhooks (aka guides or ankuses), baseball bats, axe handles, pitchforks and other implements and tools designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training and controlling the behavior of elephants." The third would ban both the use of elephants and such tools.

But libertarians and circus lovers should perhaps breathe a sigh of relief that those are the only bans to be considered: The non-profit apparently presented 4,000 signatures asking the Council to ban any circus from its borders that uses any "wild animal" as a performer -- meaning, apparently, everything from monkeys to bears would be off-limits.

ADI claims the city may be on board with that in the long run, too.

"LA Animal Services acknowledged that the aim should be to eliminate all wild animals in circuses," its press release reports, "but sought to address the issue of elephants as an urgent priority."

We've got some calls out, so we'll have more on this one as it develops.

Follow me on Twitter @sarahfenske. Follow L.A. Weekly @LAWeekly.


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