[Update: ban overturned!]

By: Administrator  Date: 12/1/2000 Category: | Animals in Education & Entertainment |

The final issue covered on September 7, 1999, at the Woodstock City Council meeting dealt with the use of animals in the city. The main topics were exhibitions, domestic animal restrictions, circuses, rodeos, and animal husbandry.

Speakers included Cindy Schonholtz, representing the International Rodeo Association, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Dr. Steve Gross representing the radical animal activist movement.

For the past two years, since Reed C. Ridge became a city council member, the issue of animals has been present at almost every board meeting. Ridge brought the proposal to the board and kept it on the agenda month after month. The legislation bans rodeos and circuses; through passage of this ordinance, two of the oldest forms of family entertainment will prohibited in the town of Woodstock.

Brian Sager, a board member for six years, disagreed with the new ordinance. "As to inhumane treatment of animals or rights of animals, people may take matters into their own hands without proper husbandry, technology and knowledge. It's best when left to other government's inappropriate for us to act..." he said.

According to David Round, a resident of Woodstock, "My intention in this ordinance is as a true rodeo fan. I know when I take my children to take part in and view the rodeo I don't have to worry about what they will see or's one of the only rated 'G' performances guaranteed." He said that the ordinance reflects an animal rights agenda, which includes the outlawing of animals in every use possible.

Schonholtz asked, "What problem in the city of Woodstock is being solved?"

Circus opposition

Heidi Herriott of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association, the largest trade association for the outdoor amusement industry, wrote to council: "The circus industry considers themselves welfare advocates and in no way condones the abuse or mistreatment of animals. Circus animals are well cared for and loved.... The circus is proud to have always carried a 'G' rating and no censure status. The circus in America is over 200 years old and dates back thousands of years worldwide."

Ignorance and naiveté were widely evident as the members of the board spoke on and questioned the animal ordinance. Reed C. Ridge dodged every question asked of him and talked around each issue until the vote was cast.

"He's an activist. He's an animal rights activist" stated a citizen of Woodstock, and many in audience shook their heads and commented unfavorably as the votes were cast. The US Department of Agriculture monitors and records the health and well being of the animals used in such events as circuses and rodeos. The city of Woodstock is going farther than the federal government in passing an ordinance that will prevent the children and adults from seeing and interacting with animals in their own town. This ordinance goes into effect immediately. Shows already scheduled to come to town will have to reschedule and work elsewhere, leaving Woodstock without old-fashioned entertainment.

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All Authors Of This Article: | Patti Strand |
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