LA City moved one step closer Wednesday to banning exotic animals from being rented out or displayed for entertainment purposes.
The ban would not apply to regulated filming and accredited zoos.
Councilman David Ryu proposed the ban after learning of Hollywood Hills house parties that used a baby giraffe, elephant, and lion for display.
“Treating animals in this manner has taught generations of people that it's okay to view these wild and exotic animals at toys,” said Ryu. “And I felt that Los Angeles must take an action to make clear that exhibiting animals in this way was no longer in line with our city’s values.”
If approved by the full City Council, the order would also apply to birthday parties and street performers.
The owners of Hollywood Animals, which has been in business since 1986 and provides animals for special events, education and the film industry, asked committee members to oppose the ban, arguing it is not in the best interest of Los Angeles and they are already regulated by government agencies.
“The guests of these events truly appreciate these animals for who they are and I have yet to meet one person whose demeanor or words invoke the belief that they view these animals as ‘toys,’” Hollywood Animals co-owner Eric Weld said in a letter. “This ‘education through sight’ leads to greater understanding of all animals and provides people with a platform to become properly educated and, hopefully, greater advocates for all animals.”