San Francisco Becomes Largest U.S. City to Ban Wild Animal Performances
In 30 days, following a triumphant unanimous vote by its city’s Board of Supervisors, San Francisco will no longer allow performances by wild and exotic animals of any kind.
Subject to the umbrella ban are circuses, parades, petting zoos, carnivals, and other public showings as well as movie and television sets. It covers anything where wild or exotic animals “are required to perform tricks, fight or participate as accompaniments for the entertainment, amusement or benefit of an audience.”
The measure does not apply to dogs, cats, horses, or any other domesticated animals. While it includes dolphins and whales, it should have a big effect on both the film industry and circuses, as such wild animals include bears, lions, tigers, and indeed elephants.
San Francisco is not the first municipalities to enact such laws, but certainly the biggest. Across the bay in Oakland, as well as in Los Angeles, bullhooks and other implements used to control animals are outlawed, which has a direct effect on the ability of circuses to feature elephants.
Of course, that’s the United States. Mexico City, the 19th most populated country in the world and largest in North America, passed a similar resolution last year.
Unfortunately, Ringling Bros, which has announced the end of the use of elephants in their revue by 2018, will not be affected by this ruling. Their schedule tour stops in the Bay Area take place outside the city limits.
Still, it seems more and more major cities are joining the campaign against the use of wild animals for public amusement. SeaWorld is on the sharp decline due to the effects of Blackfish, and coming soon is a similar documentary, this one about elephants in captivity.