Goodbye to elephant rides?
The Minneapolis City Council will vote on Friday on a proposed ordinance that would ban children from touching or riding elephants at the circus.
The measure is a response to increasing concerns about animal cruelty, public health, and safety concerns. The Shriners, a local circus organization, report that no patrons have ever been injured on the rides.
Officials from the Shriners would consider leaving the city if the ordinance is enacted. Elephant rides are a lucrative component of the circus industry; circus-goers pay $8 for an elephant ride.
Christine Coughlin, executive director of Circus Reform Yes (CRY), who has been advocating the measure for the past eight years, cites "environmental and animal awareness" as two of the reasons the ban should be put in place.
If the ordinance is enacted, circus operators would have to buy a license for $750 and pay for routine inspections by local veteranarians, most likely from the University of Minnesota.