SANTA FE, N.M. — Entertainment acts featuring wild and exotic animals will no longer be allowed in Santa Fe as the city approved an amendment to its animal welfare ordinance.
The City Council and mayor approved the amendment on Wednesday in an 8-1 vote after an hour of public testimony that was largely in support.
The amendment prohibits shows of wild or exotic animals performing tricks, giving rides or participating as “accompaniments for the entertainment, amusement, or benefit of a live audience.”
Exotic and wild animal exhibitions for “exclusively educational purposes” are allowed as well as common domesticated animals such as cats, dogs, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses.
City Councilor Signe Lindell, who sponsored the proposal with Councilor Peter Ives, said animals made to perform tricks are subjected to abuse and that “entertainment is not an excuse for animal abuse and cruelty.”
Opponents who spoke at the Wednesday meeting voiced fears that such an action could eventually lead to bans on other animal-related events like rodeos. The elected officials calmed those fears by noting rodeos are a part of the region’s way of life.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a statement applauding the city’s ban shortly after the decision was made. Associate Director Rachel Mathews said residents “demanded a more compassionate city,” and “Santa Fe now joins New York City, San Francisco, and other cities in banning exhibitors that profit from animal misery.”
The new ordinance takes effect five days after it’s published.