Wild Animal Acts In Circuses Banned In Portland, Maine On Same Day Baltimore, Maryland Pulls Similar Legislation

Yesterday the exploitation of wild and exotic animals in circuses was addressed by both Portland, Maine’s City Council and Baltimore, Maryland’s County Council.

Sadly, they had different outcomes.

The positive news is that Portland, the largest city in Maine, is now among the more than 100 municipalities nationwide that prohibit the display of animals such as tigers, elephants, and bears in circus acts.

The Portland City Council voted unanimously to institute the ban due to the “cruel” training and handling practices of the animals.

“We can all recognize the fact these practices are outdated,” City Councilor Brian Batson who introduced the ordinance in June told the Press Herald. “They are not only cruel, they are inhumane.”

Unfortunately, a rodeo scheduled for Friday will still take place because cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, and goats are not included in the ban.

Meanwhile, as per the Baltimore Sun, county councilmember Cathy Bevins announced yesterday that she was withdrawing similar legislation in Baltimore because “the timing was not right.”

The bill, which she introduced last week, would have banned traveling circuses with animal acts from the county.

Bevins claimed that she had become concerned that the legislation might also affect educational presentations with wild animals.

UniverSoul Circus, the only one to hold performances in the county in years, opposed the bill as did County Councilman Julian Jones who stated he was “relieved” the bill was withdrawn.

Deborah Stone Hess, an animal welfare activist who worked on the bill with Bevins expressed her disappointment to the news outlet while noting that she remained “hopeful that it will be reintroduced at a later date.”

The Montgomery County Council in Maryland is also reported to be considering similar legislation.

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