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Blaine County Passes Ordinance Banning Circus Animals

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According to ADI, many circus elephants spend the majority of their lives in chains. - ANIMAL DEFENDERS INTERNATIONAL
  • Animal Defenders International
  • According to ADI, many circus elephants spend the majority of their lives in chains.
One year after a number of students convinced the City of Ketchum to ban exotic circus animals, in a first-of-its-kind ordinance for Idaho, Blaine County has followed suit, sending the word out to travelling circuses featuring animal acts that they are not welcome.

A year ago, Boise Weekly introduced readers to the kids from Hailey's Sage School who stood before the Ketchum City Council in an effort to ban circus animal acts.

"Quite often, the abuse happens behind the curtain and no one can film it. You can rarely get the evidence," said 13-year-old Will Griffith. "And if you try to call the police to report abuse, quite often the circus is out of town by then."

After Ketchum officials agreed to the ban, the students went before Blaine County Commissioners, who in turn asked their county prosecutor's office to investigate the matter.

And now, a new ordinance has passed in Blaine County that prohibits the "exhibition or display of wildlife as part of a circus, animal act, exhibit or other special event"  but allows exemptions for a "display of wildlife in a permanent facility" or a "display of wildlife as part of an outreach program for education or conservation purposes." But animal circuses remain legal in the city's towns and cities (except for Ketchum which passed its own ban in 2014).

However, the Mountain Express reports that the Blaine County city of Hailey is moving forward with its permit for Jordan World Circus to appear there this June.


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