In a historic vote yesterday representing a significant step towards more ethical treatment of non-human beings, politicians in Mexico City voted to outlaw the use of animals in circuses -- joining a growing number of states and municipalities around the world to do so.
Under the new ban, circuses have one year to phase out animals in their shows, after which they risk fines of up to $70,000. Jesus Sesma, one lawmaker who pushed for the measure, says it will promote "a respect for living beings who are not human."
The law was passed nearly unanimously, with 41 legislators in support, 11 abstaining, and none voting against it. Not everyone, however, was pleased to see the measure approved. According to the Washington Post, Stephen Payne, a representative from Feld Entertainment, parent company to Ringling Bros., was on hand in Mexico City, presumably to lobby against its passage.
"If their goal is animal welfare improvements, regulate them," said Payne. "Otherwise you're just driving these circuses to look for venues outside the federal district."