Multnomah County In Portland, Oregon, Prohibits Traveling Circuses That Exploit Certain Animals For So-Called “Entertainment”

Photo from KATU News

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners recently adopted an ordinance prohibiting traveling animal displays that include wild or exotic animals for live public “entertainment” or “amusement” in the county.

There is nothing entertaining or amusing about exploiting any animals for any reason!

The ordinance amends existing Multnomah County code that already prohibits ownership of exotic animals in the county. It goes a step further by establishing that those who want to bring wild or exotic animals to this area for purposes of live display and entertainment, such as performing tricks, are clearly prohibited from doing so, whether or not a fee is charged.

The change includes animal displays in carnivals, fairs, festivals, and circuses.

In a statement released by the County, the ordinance, which was sponsored by Commissioner Sharon Meieran, clearly defines the specific wild or exotic animals, grouped by genus, that are prohibited under this amendment.

Crocodiles, alligators, hippos, giraffes, camels, sharks, elephants, kangaroos, rhinos, bears are among the animals spared from this type of exploitation. Primates such as apes and monkeys and big cats including lions and tigers also fall under the ban.

Unfortunately, the ban excludes domestic animals and livestock such as horses, mules, donkeys, alpacas, cattle, sheep, swine, goats, domestic cats, and reptiles.


“The transport back and forth and into small cages … it creates a particular stressor,” explained Meieran. “Doing this does not preclude us from doing anything additional, but it’s at least a step in the right direction.”

“This is just a fairly small extension in our already existing code,” added Commissioner Lori Stegmann. “It’s not going to solve every problem, everywhere, with every animal. It’s an area where the county does have authority where we can reach a little farther, and I feel that it does more good and little harm.”

Multnomah County now joins five states and more than 135 other localities across 37 states that have passed various restrictions governing the use of wild or exotic animals in circuses and traveling shows. Supporters cited examples where exotic animals in traveling shows endured cruel training techniques, constant confinement, and deprivation.

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