Victory! Liberty for Circus Elephants in New York State
We’re thrilled to announce a reprieve for elephants forced to perform in circuses in the state of New York! We applaud New York’s Governor Andrew W. Cuomo for signing the Elephant Protect Act which bans the use of elephants in circuses and traveling exhibits. We also give thanks to all our New York supporters who signed our action alert supporting the passage of this bill! The Elephant Protect Act, sponsored by animal heroes, Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, takes effect in two years. We must now focus our efforts nationally – and make it illegal for all beings to be confined and paraded around for entertainment!
Elephants are considered iconic for circuses, so this bill prohibiting their abuse is creating a step towards ending the exploitation of all animals in traveling acts. Under the Elephant Protection Act (S2098B/A464B) no person or entity can use elephants in entertainment acts, which include circuses, carnivals, parades or trade shows. As Governor Cuomo stated, “Elephants will no longer be subjected to this cruel abuse.”
New York is the second state in the nation to ban the use of elephants in circuses and other traveling exhibitions, following a move by Illinois earlier this year. Illinois state law protecting elephants will come into force on Jan 1, 2018. The New York City Council has gone one better by banning all wild animal performances.
Bullhook bans were the first critically important statewide legal protections for elephants in circuses and traveling exhibits. Statewide bullhook bans passed by Rhode Island and California made it difficult, if not impossible for elephants to perform within the two states.
Although Ringling Bros. has left the circus scene, smaller and equally cruel circuses and traveling “wild animal acts” are trying to expand their presence in states and cities that have so far failed to protect elephants and other species from circus abuse. Thus, animal protection laws like this are becoming increasingly important.
Although this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction for animals, the U.S. is lagging behind many other countries in protecting animals from circus abuse. Thirty nations have already passed bans on animal performances including Mexico, Peru, Romania, and Austria, just to name a few. But there is no such federal law in the U.S. yet, though the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act (TEAPSPA) aims to do just that.
If you live in the U.S. and haven't yet called your representative, or sent our letter supporting this bill, please do so here.
You can tweet your thanks to Governor Cuomo on Twitter @NYGovCuomo.