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Minneapolis Imposes Restrictions on Animal Circuses

The Minneapolis City Council passed an ordinance that will require background checks investigating how circuses treat their animals before the show can come to Minneapolis, the Star Tribune reported. The circus will also have to provide animals’ records and obtain a permit from the city. The ruling put an end to more than a year of debate.
In practice, the annual Shrine Circus is the only event the ordinance will affect.
Council members Cam Gordon and Ralph Remington wanted further measures to be taken. Remington sought to give the city the power to deny a circus a performance permit if they use a bull hook on elephants.
"There's no purpose to use this instrument other than to gouge flesh," Remington said. (Pioneer Press)
Gordon wanted to ban the public from having direct contact with elephants, sighting safety concerns. "The city is not being responsible in allowing direct contact," said Christine Coughlin, director of the Minnesota chapter of Circus Reform Yes. (Pioneer Press)
If Gordon had succeeded, the ordinance would have eliminated elephant rides, a major source of fund-raising for the Shriners.
“Naturally, we're happy that it passed the way it did," Shriner, elephant-handler and Minneapolis police officer Tim Davison said. (Pioneer Press)