Greenville City Council considers ‘exotic animals’ ban

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Greenville City Council held its first meeting of the month Monday evening. One item on the agenda, a resolution to ban exotic animal performances.

Marion Blackburn is a supporter of ending groups that use exotic animals as entertainment. She continued her plea for a resolution banning them in Greenville.

Blackburn said, “I hope your approval and support of this ordinance will help in suffering for majestic animals like elephants, tigers, lions and their babies.”

Currently, tour companies wishing to stop in Greenville can do so with a permit through the city.

“These operations make money through the suffering of animals that belong in the wild,” Blackburn added. “These animals are torn from their families, put in cages, whipped, deprived of food, and forced to perform unnatural actions.”

Blackburn said she wants to change that, citing several instances in the past including a circus at Minges Coliseum in March.

“It was forty something degrees and these elephants were in front of Minges with baskets on their back trotting around in a circle with chains on their feet and people on their backs,” Blackburn said. “It was really pathetic and made a lot of people really tearful, including children.”

Councilman Rick Smiley proposed the resolution aiming to eliminate visits by exotic animal companies.

Smiley said, “This wouldn’t involve pet shops or anybody who is supporting the private ownership of this, but instead was aimed at, and I think Asheville’s, exceptions work well too.”

Asheville and Charlotte are both cities with similar ordinances allow exemptions for permitted scientific study of such animals.

Blackburn added, “When we refuse to support these operations it means the animals are that much closer to being delivered to sanctuaries and taken out of their cages.”

Council voted unanimously to have the city attorney draft a new resolution that will include the specifics mentioned tonight.

Those who spoke say it’s a move in the right direction.

The final draft will be presented and voted on at a later meeting.

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