NYC Bans Use of Wild Animals in Circuses

New York City, the largest city in the U.S., has passed a bill banning the use of wild animals in circuses. The bill passed 43 to 6 after 11 years of pressure from animal-rights activists.


“This legislation will ensure that animals are in their natural state, not confined in small boxcars and/or treated in other inhumane ways. Equally important, human beings will be safe from animals that may act ferociously,” said bill advocate and New York City Council Member, Rosie Mendez.

Mendez has advocated for this ban for over a decade and was able to bring the bill before the city council, with the help of Humane Society of the United States, Empire State Humane Voters, Council Member Corey Johnson, and a large group of animal-rights activists.

The bill, which will go into effect within one year, is now headed to be signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, a devoted animal advocate who says he looks forward to signing this legislation.

Elephants and Zebras used by UniverSoul Circus are among the animals who will be helped by this ban.

“We now know more about the proper treatment of wild and exotic animals than we did in the past. Entertainment alone is not an excuse to put these animals through more than they ever should have to endure,” said Council Member Corey Johnson.

This ban is one of the many positive actions taken recently to extinguish animal exploitation in the entertainment industry.

After years of pressure from animal-rights activists, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed its curtains for the last time on May 21st after 146 years, reporting a sharp decline in revenue.

Los Angeles passed a similar ban to NYC in April with a unanimous vote to ban the use of wild or exotic animals in circuses.

On June 6th, the New York state legislature passed the Elephant Protection Act, prohibiting the use of elephants in traveling shows. It is headed to Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign. In Illinois, a similar bill is awaiting the signature of Governor Bruce Rauner.

Other restrictions and prohibitions on the use of wild animals in circuses and traveling shows have passed in four states and more than 125 localities in 34 states.


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