Today, the Montgomery County Council passed a bill protecting wild animals from the abuses inherent in traveling shows. Bill 23-17 passed unanimously.
In passing the proposal introduced by Councilman Craig Rice (D-2) and George Leventhal (D-at large), Montgomery County becomes the first community in Maryland to approve sweeping reforms to help wild animals by banning their use in circuses. The vote won praise from the Humane Society of the United States, which says its passage is leading to the day when these animals, including endangered species, will no longer be forced to endure a lifetime of violent training, cages and chains.
Nicole Paquette, vice president of wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States and a Montgomery County resident, released the following statement:
"For too long, wild animals used in circuses have endured cruel training techniques, constant confinement and consistent deprivation of all that is natural to them. The public has come to see that these animals are victims, not willing performers. Montgomery County has taken a monumental step in ending this outdated form of entertainment and we urge other cities, counties and states to follow suit.”
The HSUS applauds Rice and Leventhal for leading this momentous effort.
Four states and more than 130 other localities in 34 states across the country have enacted restrictions regarding the use of wild animals in circuses. Just this year, the states of New York and Illinois passed bills prohibiting the use of elephants in traveling shows and numerous localities including Los Angeles and New York City banned wild animals in traveling animal acts.