Animal-Abusing Circuses, Count Your Days—Another City Passes Ban

Published by Zachary Toliver.

When a ban on wild-animal acts came to a vote in Portland, Maine, every single city council member did right by animals.

In a unanimous vote, the Portland City Council moved to prohibit wild- and exotic-animal acts, citing strong evidence of animal handlers’ cruel training methods and of the routine abuse of animals in circuses.

City Councilor Brian Batson proposed the “Wild and Exotic Animal Ordinance” after animal rights activists protested the Kora Shrine Circus’ annual visit to Portland last spring.

“We can all recognize the fact these practices are outdated,” Batson told the Portland Press Herald. “They are not only cruel—they are inhumane.”

PETA had alerted its members and supporters in Portland to the proposed ban. It also wrote to the mayor and city council in support of the new legislation. Portland is the first city in Maine to pass a ban on wild-animal performances.

The new ordinance includes protection for a variety of animals, including elephants, lions, tigers, zebras, giraffes, monkeys, kangaroos, and aquatic animals, such as crocodiles, seals, walruses, and sharks. Unfortunately, cows, horses, pigs, sheep, and goats are exempt from the ban.

Portland’s ban comes less than a week after Santa Fe, New Mexico, adopted similar legislation. This year alone, the infamous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus met its demise, Illinois became the first state ever to ban traveling elephant acts, and New York City told the world that wild animals don’t exist for our entertainment.

At this point, it’s hard to keep up with the growing number of venues and communities that have taken a stand against exploiting animals for entertainment, and that’s a wonderful feeling.

But we still have work to do.

Unlike human entertainers, who have a choice to perform and get to go home to their families, animals used in circuses are denied everything that’s natural and important to them. Circuses lug animals across the country—nearly year-round and in all weather extremes—inside cramped trailers and trucks.

Elephants, tigers, and other animals that circuses use to entertain audiences don’t stand on their heads, jump through hoops, or balance on pedestals because they want to. They perform these and other stupid tricks because they’re afraid of what will happen if they don’t.

Until all animals are freed from circuses—where they’re forced to perform tricks under the threat of being beaten, whipped, and prodded—PETA will continue to push for complete animal liberation.

Action against circuses works!

Even Kora Shrine Circus Producer James Hamid said, “As we look into the future, we see all circuses moving to non-animal productions.”

Just as they were in numerous other victories, protests were the catalyst for Portland’s ban on animal acts. Please keep up the momentum until we end all animal acts.

Note: PETA supports animal rights, opposes all forms of animal exploitation, and informs the public on those issues. It does not directly or indirectly participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office or any political party.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind