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Will LA kick the circus out of town?

Circus artists and elephants perform during Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's FUNundrum in New York on March 26, 2010.
Circus artists and elephants perform during Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's FUNundrum in New York on March 26, 2010.
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

The circus may no longer be coming to town — at least to Los Angeles.

City Councilman David Ryu introduced a motion earlier this week asking the city attorney to draft a new ordinance that would make it illegal to exhibit lions, elephants and other exotic animals, purely for entertainment.

Ryu says accredited zoos would be exempt. Animals would also be able to be in filming, research and in conservation projects.

"This legislation is intended to protect the welfare of the exotic and wild animal," Ryu tells KPCC. "And entertainers, whether it'd be Ringling Brothers or somebody in the street who doesn't uphold these same values aren't welcomed to the city of Los Angeles."

Ringling Bros. and Barnum and & Bailey spokesman Stephen Payne calls the proposal unnecessary.

"We're are already heavily regulated by the city of Los Angeles, the state of California, and the federal U.S. government," she tells KPCC. "So really this has nothing to do with animal welfare. This is a political stunt."