In August, the Missoula city council will vote on a new ordinance that could ban the showing of exotic animals at circus acts in Missoula. The biggest exotic animal show in town is the annual Shrine Circus, which is designed as a fundraiser for children’s hospitals across the country. Shrine Circus Chairman Dean Gilmore says the exotic animal ban will severely hamper fundraising efforts.

"I think it will hurt it immensely and it will greatly jeopardize our ability to raise funds that we use to send to children throughout Western Montana to our hospital in Spokane and to also support the 22 children hospitals we have nationwide," Gilmore said.

Gilmore went on to say that if City Council bans exotic animal shows, then the circus will probably not return next year.

"Most likely, there will be no circus," Gilmore said. "We've been contracted with Jordan Productions for 20 to 30 years. They currently run two circus's one east of the Mississippi and one west of the Mississippi, and it's there show. We would have to ask them if they had a show with no animals."

The exotic animal ban came up in the public health and safety committee, but Gilmore says this issue isn’t about public health at all, it’s about cruelty to animals, something he says the Shriners also oppose, but insists is not happening at the Shrine Circus.


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