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With the countries that have already banned wild animals in circuses, where does the U.S. stand on this matter? Currently, no national or state-wide bans exist on the use of wild or exotic animals in circuses – which makes the situation worse for the animals already suffering in them. Many cities have species-specific bans and regulate only particular species, ban animal displays only on public property, prohibit public contact with exhibited animals, and/or prohibit acts such as elephant rides.

However, some great American cities have taken a stand against various aspects of these cruel entities. Many cities even have bans on performing wild animals even though they have never been visited by circuses. These bans mainly come about through the dedicated efforts of concerned citizens and nonprofit organizations who call on elected officials to enact animal protection legislation. And so, let’s celebrate their efforts! Read on to discover six amazing U.S. cities that have taken a stand against circus cruelty — and be sure to grab a slice of delicious vegan cake to top off the celebratory reading!

1. Huntington Beach, Calif.

This was one of the earliest municipalities to pass a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, which in turn prompted other bans in the state and the rest of the country.

2. Santa Ana, Calif.

Before Los Angeles, Santa Ana was the largest city to have a restriction affecting circuses and traveling shows, but it still remains the largest city in the U.S. that has banned performing animals.

3. Los Angeles, Calif.

In October 2013, by a unanimous 14-0 vote, the city of L.A. passed a ban on the use of bullhooks on elephants, becoming the largest American city that regulates the treatment of elephants.

4. Fulton County, Ga.

Fulton County also has a ban on the use of bullhooks, and as principal county in the Atlanta metropolitan area, it is helping advocates push for a ban in Atlanta. The ban was first proposed in 2010, but was voted down soon after, according to 11 Alive Atlanta. Thankfully, advocates never gave up and the ban was finally passed in 2011!

5. Margate, Fla.

The bullhook ban in this Florida city has resulted in at least one circus performing in the city to alter its show. The city council also voted to ban cruel devices meant to cause pain such as electric prods. The Cole Bros. Circus said that it would return in subsequent performances without elephants.

6. Dane County, Wis.

With a ban on the use of elephants in entertainment spanning multiple cities, Dane County has ensured that elephants who once performed there would never again do so, making this a significant achievement. The county also became the first community in the state to ban the exhibition of elephants for entertainment.

Inspired to help? Find out what you can do right here to take a stand against circuses and performing animals in your city or town. Write to your heads of state and help put an end to circuses once and for all.

A big thank you to Catherine Doyle, Director of Science, Research & Advocacy at Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) for her time and help, without which this article would not have been possible.

Image Source: Paula Lively/Flickr