Last fall, City Council Member David Ryu introduced a motion that would instruct the City Attorney to draft an ordinance to “prohibit the exhibition of wild or exotic animals for entertainment or amusement, including circuses, other wild or exotic animal shows, and rentals for house parties.” This week, the Council’s Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee unanimously approved (3-0) the motion, which will now go to the full City Council for consideration.
“Wild and exotic animals have a long history of being exploited for public and private entertainment,” said Ryu in a statement released by his office after the committee vote. “Treating animals in this manner has taught generations of people that it is okay to view wild and exotic animals as toys. Los Angeles must take action to make clear that exhibiting animals in this way is no longer in line with our City’s values.”
Exactly which animals would be covered in the proposed ordinance is still unclear. So whether it would include things like camel rides at the annual Larchmont Family Fair, a long-standing tradition that has come under fire in recent years from animal rights activists, isn’t known yet. According to Ryu’s communications director, Estevan Montemayor, the specific language of the ordinance, and the specific animals and circumstances covered, will be up to the City Attorney…if and when the Council passes the motion and forwards it to that office to draft an ordinance. (Note: some other cities with similar bans do include camels, while others consider camels to be domesticated and no longer “exotic” or covered by such restrictions.)
The full council vote on Ryu’s motion has not been scheduled yet. If and when it is approved, the City Attorney’s office will draft the ordinance, and then it will go back to the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee, and then the full City Council again, for hearings, adjustments and/or final approvals.