Over the last several years, a number of different constituencies have worked hard to advance legislation to ban exotic animals (elephants, tigers, lions, etc.) from circuses. There is now a bill pending in committee in the New York state legislature. Below follows a press release from one of the groups working on this issue:
Proposed NYS Legislation To Ban “Wild & Exotic Animals” in Entertainment.
This is to inform all residents of New York State that 2 bills (Assembly A5407 and Senate S5971) have been introduced which would ban the use of wild and exotic animals (elephants, lions, tigers, etc) in entertainment, including circuses.
THERE WILL BE NO ACTION TAKEN on these bills unless there is public support for them. It is crucial that voters call or email their New York State representatives to urge support of these bills (do a search online if you do not know who your representatives are). Supporters should also use social media to further publicize this very important legislation.
The Pace University Academy of Environmental Studies has published a comprehensive report that documents the inherent cruelty in training and the public safety risks associated with the use of these animals. The New York City Bar has published a report supporting both these bills. The Pace University and the Bar reports have been sent to all members of the Assembly and Senate Agriculture Committees to which these bills have been referred. The committees will only schedule hearings if pressured to do so by members of the senate and assembly. Call your representatives!
Why Is This Important?
While most people are not inherently cruel, they never ask themselves this basic question “How do they get those, elephants, tigers, lions et al to perform those ‘tricks’?” Unfortunately, the answer is “No animal performs because it wants to so the only way to ‘train’ them is via cruel, inhumane ways such as with chains, fire, bull hooks, beatings, withholding food and many other unacceptable practices. Not only is there a plethora of information on what goes on during the training of animals, there are also mind-numbing videos where the ‘trainer’ is encouraging an apprentice to “Beat him, make him scream!!” while pummeling an elephant with a bull hook! Look here if you have any doubts.
If the average circus goer knew the means of training, they would see that animal circuses are not the innocuous, family-friendly tradition they are purported to be. The children, who go to the circus because they love the animals would be mortified.
Not only is the abuse horrendous, it is on-going – the physical abuse as well as the emotional and psychological abuse suffered when wild animals are kept in boxcars for hours and hours on end. They NEVER get to live as in the wild where they constantly roam extensive ranges. They don’t receive adequate medical care and spend their time outside the circus ring in cages or chained on concrete floors.