NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL PASSES INTRO 1233, THE EXOTIC ANIMAL BAN

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | June 21, 2017

Contact: John Blasco, (212) 677-1077, jblasco@council.nyc.gov

NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL PASSES INTRO 1233,
THE EXOTIC ANIMAL BAN

After 11 years Intro 1233, which would ban wild or exotic animal circus performances in New York City has passed in the New York City Council

New York – On Wednesday, June 21st 2017 New York City Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Corey Johnson passed their bill Intro 1233, a bill to ban exotic animals in circuses, by a vote of 43-6-0 with another 34 councilmembers as co-sponsors and the Public Advocate Letitia James. Councilmember Mendez celebrated this victory with her colleagues and advocates who have been in the forefront of this 11 year journey: constituent and activist John Philips, The Humane Society of the United States, Animal Defenders International and many others.

Councilwoman Rosie Mendez first introduced the legislation in April of 2006. Intro 1233 has always been about the safety of animals and humans. The conditions in traveling circuses, including constant travel, limited facilities, long periods of restricted movement, separation from natural groupings, stress, and physical coercion inevitably compromise the welfare of animals, which can lead to abnormal behavior and increased risks to the public. Banning the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses and shows is the most efficient way to safeguard both animal welfare and public safety. The passage of this bill will add New York City to the list of 125 localities in 34 states across the country that have enacted partial or full bans on circus animals.

“It has been a little over 11 years that I first introduced legislation that would ban the display of wild or exotic animals,” said Councilwoman Rosie Mendez. “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 and 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.”

“We now know more about the proper treatment of wild and exotic animals than we did in the past,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health. “Entertainment alone is not an excuse to put these animals through more than they ever should have to endure. As a City, it’s easy to say that we value the proper treatment of animals. The difficult part is ensuring that the proper safeguards are in place to prevent animal mistreatment. I thank Council Member Rosie Mendez for her leadership on this issue, as well as our colleagues in the Council and countless advocates who have joined with us in this effort.”

“Eleven years ago when this bill was first introduced, no one dreamed Ringling Bros. would go out of business, or that cities all over the world would be enacting bans on the use of wild animals in the circus. It was because of compassionate, pioneering officials like Council Member Rosie Mendez that the tide shifted,” said John Phillips, a prominent animal rights activist who brought the issue to the Council Member’s attention in 2006 and led the grassroots campaign to pass Intro 1233. “With the passage of this historic bill, the largest city in the United States is standing up for the rights of wild animals and saying no to the beatings and captivity that they’ve long endured. The next chapter in NYC history will be a kinder one.”

“New York City has taken a major step forward for animals by ending the use of tigers, elephants, and other wild animals in circuses. There is an ugly and unpleasant back story for all of these animals in traveling circuses. The HSUS applauds City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, and Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson, for championing this path-breaking effort and seeking to close this chapter in our mistreatment of animals,” said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the Unites States

ADI President Jan Creamer said, “Animal Defenders International thanks Councilmember Mendez for her years of dedication and determination to protect wild animals and the public. ADI has repeatedly documented the suffering and abuse of wild animals in circuses, and applauds the New York City Council for its leadership in prohibiting these cruel and dangerous acts.”

“Wild animals have been suffering in New York City circuses since 1794, when monkeys were forced to perform at Ricketts Circus on Broadway. Council Members Rosie Mendez and Corey Johnson have made history—and made New York a much more civilized city,” said Dan Mathews, PETA’s Senior Vice President of Campaigns.

“The Humane Society of New York applauds the NYC Council for helping to make NYC a more humane city for all of us– two and four legged– by passing legislation to end the use of wild and exotic animals in circuses. Special thanks to Councilmember Rosie Mendez for her persistence and leadership. Wild and exotic animals used in entertainment suffer psychologically and physically from continuous confinement, cruel training, and being forced to perform acts totally unnatural to their species,” said Elinor Molbegott, Esq., Legal Counsel, Humane Society of New York.

“New Yorkers recognize that circus animal acts aren’t entertaining, they’re cruel,” said Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We applaud Council Member Mendez’ tenacity in her long battle to ensure that wild and exotic animals are protected from the misery and indignity that public performance entails.”

“Big Cat Rescue strongly supports the passage of Intro 1233. This crucial bill will end the suffering of tigers, lions and leopards forced to perform in circuses when they visit NYC. As the largest city in America, this is an opportunity for New York City to be a leader in the humane treatment of big cats,” said Susan Bass, Director of Public Relations for Big Cat Rescue.

“The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) applauds the New York City Council for its vote to end the use of wild animals in circuses, closing the chapter on an outdated and inhumane spectacle that routinely subjects elephants, tigers and other wild animals to abusive and unnatural conditions. Today’s action reflects an important evolution in public attitudes toward greater concern and respect for captive wildlife and away from the use of wild animals for novelty and amusement. PAWS especially commends Intro 1233 sponsor, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, for her compassion, leadership and longtime dedication to ending the suffering of wild animals in circuses,” said Ed Stewart, President of the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

“We congratulate Council Member Mendez on her 11 years of persistence and leadership to pass a law to stop circuses from exploiting wild and exotic animals for human entertainment in New York City. With the passage of Mendez’s bill, New York will show that such practices have no place in a city that values the dignity of other beings,” said Matthew Dominguez, Director of Public Affairs & Government Relations, Nonhuman Rights Project.

“CompassionWorks International applauds Council Members Mendez and Johnson and the city of New York for making the humane and compassionate choice to ban the use of animals in traveling entertainment. With this historic ban, New York shows the power of truth and justice for all, including for those who suffered for decades to provide others with a few minutes of entertainment. Thank you, New York City, for recognizing that animal cruelty has no place in a modern and caring society,” said Carrie LeBlanc, M.A., Executive Director, CompassionWorks International.

“Born Free USA applauds Council Members Rosie Mendez and Corey Johnson for their efforts with Intro 1233. This bill is another step in the right direction to banning wild animal performances, and to do so in New York City is a real accomplishment. We hope other jurisdictions will follow suit to end the use of animals in entertainment,” said Prashant K. Khetan, Esq., CEO and General Counsel of Born Free USA.

“HEART is grateful to Councilwoman Mendez and the co-sponsors of Intro.1233 for taking this significant step toward creating a more compassionate community in NYC. Wild animals in the circus have had to endure mistreatment, coercive training and unnatural living conditions for too long. It is important for children to see that their legislators have compassion for these highly intelligent and social animals. We are pleased that our city can serve as a humane model for our students,” said Meena Alagappan, Executive Director, Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART).

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