While animal advocates are thrilled with the recent and long overdue closure of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus following its 146 year run, they realize the fight to protect wild and exotic animals from being exploited in circuses, as well as other forms of entertainment, is far from over.
Last Thursday the New York City Health Committee unanimously voted to approve a bill to ban dozens of species of “wild or exotic animals for public entertainment or amusement,” including elephants, tigers, lions, bears and monkeys, among others.
The bill, which was introduced by Council Members Rosie Mendez and Corey Johnson, as per Care2, along with a call to action issued on Friday, has now moved to the full Council which will vote on it this week.
Among the many issues presented as arguments as to why the bill should be turned into law is the fact that the well-being and welfare of the imprisoned animals are constantly at risk. The poor animals who are meant to be living free in the wild are instead subjected to relentless inhumane conditions which range from frequent travel, extended periods of confinement, lack of socialization or other natural behaviors that are extremely coercive, along with physically abusive training techniques.
“Keeping exotic animals in captivity, transporting them around the country and requiring them to perform tricks night after night for human amusement is in our view inherently inhumane,” said Councilman Corey Johnson, chair of the health committee.
Once passed, the new ruling will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the controversial UniverSoul Circus, which features elephants, horses, zebras, camels and a pony in its performances.
Established in 1994 as a single ring show featuring a remarkably talented multi-cultural cast of performers from around the world, UniverSoul’s shameful mistreatment and use of animals have landed the circus in hot water many times over the years.
While UniverSoul was banned from New York City in 2014 for keeping animals in unsafe conditions, unfortunately, the circus was allowed to return.
“We all agree that there should not be any abuse of animals,” weakly argued Jackie Davis, executive vice president of the Atlanta-based circus. “Our audience would be disappointed if we did not have the animals.”
WAN believes that times are not only changing; they have changed, and there is a majority of compassionate animal loving and respecting people who have long been and remain adamantly against “having” animals in zoos.
What is disappointing is that there is not a universal blanket ban already in place for the use and exploitation of wild animals in circuses?
We wouldn’t be WAN without again mentioning that we are completely against any confinement and exploitation of wild animals for entertainment.
Please sign and share this Care2 petition asking New York City council members to take a compassionate stand for animals by passing this important bill!
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