L.A. to consider ban on elephants in traveling shows, exhibits

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Amid discussions of tax increases and medical marijuana, the Los Angeles City Council will soon add elephants to its agenda.

On Tuesday, the city’s Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee decided to move forward a pachyderm-prohibiting proposal that would ban the use of elephants in traveling shows and exhibits that stop in L.A.


Also up for debate will be the use of bull hooks and ‘other implements and tools designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training and controlling the behavior of elephants.’

Councilman Paul Koretz, who heads the committee, put forth the proposal.

Some have voiced opposition, including Feld Entertainment Inc., which includes Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Ringling Bros. visits L.A. each year, and in a June 4 letter addressed to Koretz, Feld said the proposal would not ‘enhance or increase elephant welfare or protection’ and ‘threatens the circus industry.’

But supporters heralded the committee’s decision. Tim Phillips, vice president of Animal Defenders International, called it a ‘very important step forward.’


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Photo: Elephants with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey made their annual midnight walk down the streets of Los Angeles in 2011. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times