Target: West Hollywood City Councilmen Jeffrey Prang and John Duran
Goal: Commend Councilmembers for taking a stand against using wild and exotic animals for human entertainment
The West Hollywood City Council recently came to an important decision to pass broad protections for wild and exotic animals, to prevent them from being subject to abuse and neglect by the local entertainment industry. Councilmen John Duran and Jeffrey Prang, who introduced the measure, stressed that it seeks to protect the animals as well as their constituents and visitors from exposure to danger. The ban applies to all performances and commercial displays such as parades, races, circus acts, carnivals, and trade shows – anywhere exotic or wild animals might be “required to perform tricks, fight, or participate as accomplishments in performances for the entertainment, amusement or benefit of an audience.” This comprehensive protection covers over 12 species, among them elephants, giraffes, raccoons, chimpanzees, ostriches, sloths, and armadillos.
The city has taken a stand on animal rights abuse issues before; in 1989, West Hollywood declared itself a “cruelty-free zone for animals,” criminalizing the use of animals for cosmetic testing as well as the use of steel leg-hold traps. These animal lovers followed up in 2001 by joining the Guardian campaign (to recognize people with animal companions as “guardians” rather than “owners”) and in 2003 by becoming the first American city to ban cat declawing. Lately the city has also banned the retail sale of furs and pet dogs and cats. Though there has been some controversy over the recent fur ban and the protections against abuse in the entertainment industry, the city council sent what PETA calls “a clear message” that West Hollywood encourages innovative entertainment, “but not at the expense of animals’ well-being.”
By signing this petition, you are congratulating the West Hollywood City Council on their continued success in the fight for animal rights. You are thanking them for continuing to make animal issues visible to the people who have an opportunity to make a change and to end animal cruelty. You are applauding them for not bowing to the entertainment industry and its often abusive expectations.
Dear Councilmembers Duran and Prang,
Congratulations on the recent successful passage of yet another comprehensive animal rights bill, providing broad protections to wild and exotic animals commonly abused in the service of human entertainment. I’m sure you are proud to belong to a community whose priorities include quality of life for all residents, including nonhuman denizens. Human entertainment should never profit from treating animals without the respect and care they deserve.
Thank you for continuing to fight for the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves. Thank you for recognizing the need to build up protections for our animal friends as we encounter abuses. I hope that other communities will follow your lead, taking pride in recognizing and representing the needs of the animals with whom we share our natural environments. I hope that soon every city and town in the country passes a similar law, so that together we can build a more compassionate and animal-friendly United States.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Karen Corby via Flickr