Letter writer: Many support City Council’s exotic-animals ban

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I would like to address those of you who may want to criticize City Council’s approval of a citywide ban on exotic animals. Please do not think that they were simply caving in to a small group of animal-loving radicals. Asheville Voice for Animals currently has over 250 members, tripling in just the past year. In addition, we have the endorsement of the leadership of all of the major animal shelters and animal welfare organizations locally, with a combined membership of over 10,000 individuals. This is hardly a small group of people! This process took over 18 months, and all City Council meetings are open to the public.

City Council was educated to the fact that exotic-animal circuses constantly abuse their animals, the extent of which (including death) is a well-kept secret and not known by the general public. They were also told that Ringling Bros. has been fined many times, including a record $270,000 by the USDA for their horrific abuse of animals. They were also made aware of the 60 municipalities in 19 states that have enacted exotic-animal bans, of which Chapel Hill is one. Also, 28 municipalities in Canada, and nine large countries, including Great Britain and Mexico, have enacted similar bans.

So there is quite a bit more to it, most of which many of you were not aware of. I’m glad that City Council took to heart what was presented to them by the representatives of Asheville Voice for Animals and the many other groups and individuals.

If you want to see exotic animals, visit an Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoo, and if you want the thrill of a circus, there are many, such as Cirque du Soleil, that do not use exotic animals. These are much better options to seeing an exotic-animal circus for a couple of hours once a year at a cost to the animals you see of living their entire lives in a cage or a box car, always confined and brutally “taught” to do unnatural and sometimes painful tricks.

— Donald Kendall

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