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PETA protests Glendale's elephant float for Rose Parade

City Council suggests modifications to appease animal rights activists.

August 31, 2011|By Brittany Levine, brittnay.levine@latimes.com
(Tim Berger/Staff…)

City Council members on Tuesday sought options for modifying Glendale’s circus elephant float for the Tournament of Roses Parade after animal activists staged a protest outside City Hall.

A handful of people representing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals stood near City Hall before the council meeting Tuesday waving signs that said “Sink the Circus Float” and “Circuses Are No Fun For Animals.” The float features a circus elephant towing a carriage.

Matt Bruce, an assistant campaigner for PETA, said he hoped the city could do “what they can to stop the float,” echoing concerns from animal activists who say the design glamorizes unfair treatment of elephants used for entertainment.

But with construction on the float in Pasadena nearly completed, City Council members on Tuesday said there was likely little they could do.

The council approved the float last week after construction had already begun on a design that was green-lighted by the Glendale Rose Float Assn.

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“Isn’t there some way we can change the theme? Come up with something better?” Councilman Frank Quintero said.

Mayor Laura Friedman suggested the float builder change things around to display the elephant in a wildlife setting. Councilman Rafi Manoukian said a sign could be placed on the float noting the city doesn’t support the use of circus elephants.

The design has historically been selected by the Rose Float Assn., but some officials asked for that responsibility be transferred to the city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department last week. In addition to the design controversy, the float also encumbered fundraising issues and was saved largely by major donations from business owners.

Councilman Dave Weaver — a longtime organizer for float decoration operations and fundraising — responded angrily to the last-minute efforts to modify the float design.

“Why doesn’t the council stay out of this? It’s done,” he said.

“Because the city of Glendale is paying for this float,” Quintero said. “And it represents the city of Glendale and the City Council.”

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