In a step forward for elephants, primates, and other animals used for “entertainment,” the city council of Northampton, Massachusetts, voted unanimously to ban traveling wild animal acts in the city.

Exhibitions that fall under the ban include circuses, fairs, parades, races, shows, “selfie” photo schemes, and other performances that exploit animals. The legislation also makes it illegal for anyone to breed, sell, or transport animals for the sole purpose of entertainment.

“This is an exciting step forward for animal welfare in Massachusetts,” said Elizabeth Magner, MSPCA-Angell animal advocacy specialist.

Wild animals exploited for “entertainment” often endure cruel training behind the scenes, are subjected to prolonged periods of extreme confinement, and are deprived of the ability to express their most basic natural behaviors, Magner added.

The ban will benefit city residents, too, authorities said. Being in close proximity to wild animals increases people’s risk of contracting zoonotic diseases, which are transmitted to humans from other animals, while escapes can lead to human injuries.

Thirteen other towns in Massachusetts have passed similar laws, including Pittsfield, Topsfield and Amherst.

Lady Freethinker applauds Northampton for sending a message to the world that it will no longer tolerate exploitative performances that rely on animal abuse. Wild animals deserve to enjoy their lives in their natural habitats, where they can roam free and act on their instincts.

This ban is also a great reminder that no one should keep wild animals as “pets” or visit venues that exploit them for “entertainment” purposes. To help other animals remain in the wild, sign our petition urging the U.S. federal government to ban the trade of exotic animals.

SIGN: End Cruel, Dangerous Exotic Pet ‘Ownership’ in the US