Landmark animal protection victory: New York City Council prohibits use of wild animals in circuses

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is celebrating today as New York City Council voted (43 to 6) in favor of Councilmember Rosie Mendez’s ordinance prohibiting the use of wild and exotic animals in circuses.
Landmark animal protection victory: New York City Council prohibits use of wild animals in circuses

Press Release ( - New York, NY - Jun 22, 2017 - The biggest city in the US banning wild animals in circuses is seen as a significant advance in the campaign to stop circus suffering, especially following, as it does, the recent closure of the country’s largest animal circus Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.

ADI President Jan Creamer:  “This is a move of huge importance from one of the great entertainment capitals of the world, a clear step towards ending the suffering of circus animals in the United States.”

Over 70 U.S. jurisdictions in 27 states have now taken action to restrict wild animals from traveling circuses.  San Francisco was previously the largest city to pass a ban on wild animal acts, while Los Angeles City Council is poised to follow suit, having unanimously approved the drafting of a similar ordinance. Almost 40 countries around the world have now passed national prohibitions with Romania and Latvia doing so just last week.

ADI worked with Councilmember Mendez and city attorneys on New York City’s ground-breaking animal protection measure for America’s largest city.

Councilmember Rosie Mendez stated: “It has been a little over 11 years that I first introduced legislation that would ban the display of wild or exotic animals. We had our first hearing on October 20th, 2016 and since then Council Member Corey Johnson and I worked with NYC Council attorneys to address issues raised in the hearing. Intro 1233 is and always has been about the safety and security of animals, as well as human beings. 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.”

ADI President Jan Creamer said “Councilmember Mendez’s measure recognizes that moving from place to place, traveling circuses can never provide for the needs of these animals.  Animals like lions, tigers and bears are forced to live in small mobile cages, elephants are chained barely able to move, and other animals are tethered or forced to live in small pens.  Animal Defenders International (ADI) investigations have also repeatedly exposed abuse during training.”

Almost 40 countries have now passed national measures to stop circus suffering and a bill is currently before Congress. Congressional Representatives Ryan Costello (R-PA-06) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) introducedH.R.1759, the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA), which when passed will see an end to the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows throughout the US.  More than a dozen celebrities from the entertainment industry, including Academy, Grammy, Emmy, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe winners, including Ed Asner, James Cromwell, Danny Boyle and Jorja Fox backed the Bill in an ADI video called “The Reluctant Entertainers” at the launch of the Bill in March.  CSI stars Jorja Fox and Eric Szmanda both spoke at congressional launch.

Watch The Reluctant Entertainers here:

Last year, ADI rescued over 100 animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in Peru and Colombia, including lions, bears, tigers, monkeys, and others. ADI collaborated with the governments of Peru and Colombia for the unprecedented Operation Spirit of Freedom campaign. ADI rehabilitated and rehomed the animals, and continues to fund most of their care.

Find out about the global campaign to Stop Circus Suffering:


CATEGORIES : Animal Rights Law


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