UPDATE: Decision on Elephants Postponed

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UPDATED Wednesday, December 14, 2011 --- 10:41 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Dane County Board committee has postponed a decision on whether to ban elephant performances in Madison.

The committee heard from residents Tuesday both for and against the proposal. A WMTV-TV report says the board ended up postponing a decision in order to study the measure further.

The proposal would ban pachyderm performances at county facilities. It was introduced by Supervisor Al Matano, who says it's not possible to have elephants in a traveling show and house them humanely.

If the measure passes, it could mean the end of the long-running Zor Shrine Circus, which draws about 30,000 people per year.

Zor Shrine spokesman Bob Sands insists the show will go on. He says organizers might set up their own tent rather than use county-owned facilities, or go elsewhere.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011--9:30p.m.
MADISON--The Dane County Board of Supervisors Public Works and Transportation Committee spent a good chunk of the evening hearing from residents both in favor of--and against--"prohibiting the exhibition of elephants for amusement or entertainment" in county facilities.

The event that most likely comes to mind when thinking of elephant performances is the circus, which could be affected by the potential prohibition.

"We will have a Shrine Circus and it will be in Dane County whether we have to put a tent out at the Shrine Center or find somewhere else to put it," said Bob Sands, the promotional director for Zor Shrine, shortly before the committee meeting Tuesday evening. "This proposal says on county owned facilities. We will have a Shrine Circus and we will have elephants."

The Alliant Energy Center has a contract with the Zor Shrine Circus through 2020. We're told that the circus is the largest annual event that comes to the Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center. Around 30,000 people usually attend.

Tonight the committee heard from circus officials--as well as concerned members of the public--about the treatment of elephants. They ended up postponing a decision on the topic in order to look at it in more detail. They'll likely next take up the issue at their January 10th meeting.