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Animal Rights Activists Rejoice as NYC Lawmakers Vote to Ban Wild Animals in Circuses (VIDEO)

June 28, 2017 by Leave a Comment


The News

An 11 year campaign came to a screeching halt on June 21st when NYC lawmakers voted to ban the use of exotic animals in circuses. The bill, which has been championed by Council Member Rosie Mendez since 2006, passed with 43 votes. Only 6 Council Members voted against it.

NYC’s Public Advocate, who presided over the Council meeting when the vote took place, broke protocol by allowing animal rights activists in the Council chambers to break into applause when the vote count was announced, “Let it rip,” said Letitia James, who herself was a supporter of the ban.

Animal rights activists in NYC applaud the advocates and elected officials who led the fight to ban wild animals in circuses (from L to R: Activist John Phillips, Council Member Corey Johnson, Council Member Rosie Mendez, ADI’s Christina Scaringe, HSUS’ Joyce Friedman)

According to HSUS’ Wildlife Protection Specialist Joyce Friedman, NYC joins “over 125  municipalities and four states that have banned or restricted the use of animals in circuses.” Christina Scaringe, General Counsel of Animal Defenders International (ADI), added that 37 countries around the world have implemented a ban on exotic animals in circuses, with some of those countries also banning the use of domesticated animals.

In traveling circuses, wild animals are held captive for life in small cages and are beaten into submission with weapons

After the Council meeting, several elected officials bill joined activists on the steps of City Hall for an impromptu rally to celebrate the historic vote. NYC Council Member Corey Johnson, a co-sponsor of the bill, remarked on the historic significance of its passage: “We’re going to look back on this day and all of the hard work that has gone into it and see it as a seminal moment – – when the largest municipality in the country said, ‘Enough!  This law is a step for a more just and humane New York City and society.”


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New Yorkers Rally in Support of Historic Bill to Ban Wild Animals in Circuses

January 9, 2017 by Leave a Comment


The News

Elected officials and animal advocates in NYC staged a rally at City Hall and testified at a public hearing in support of a bill to ban wild and exotic animals from circuses.

In 2016, Ringling Brothers eliminated elephant acts from its circus, but the company continues to use tigers, camels and other exotic animals. Other circuses that travel to New York, such as Universoul, continue to use elephants. Cole Bros., another company that used elephants in its circus, went out of business in 2016 due to  diminished attendance and show cancellations in Long Island and New Jersey.

Elephants and tigers among the many animals beaten into submission by circus “trainers.”

At the public hearing, City Council Member Corey Johnson, a co-sponsor on the bill, said “We’re probably going to look back on this [wild animals in circuses] years from now and say, ‘Why were we comfortable with that?’ In the largest city in the United States, I think we need to set the tone and example for the rest of the country.”

NYC Council Member Corey Johnson testifies in support of bill to ban wild and exotic animals from circuses

Dozens of cities and countries around the world have banned the use of wild animals in circuses. Animal rights groups in the United States say they will continue to protest until all circuses retire all of their wild and exotic animals.

Your Turn

If you live in NYC, please ask your Council Member to co-sponsor Int. 1233 to ban wild & exotic animals from performances in NYC.


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Modern Day Slavery

August 4, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

A slave is defined as “someone who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.” Across the globe, wild animals are held captive in circuses and subjected to violent punishment in order to force them to perform for human entertainment. Their plight is chillingly similar to that of the victims of the African slave trade.

Like the victims of the African slave trade, circus animals are often kidnapped from their homes and held captive in chains and prison cages — when they’re not performing.  Circus elephants, for instance, spend 97% of their lives shackled. One investigation showed that, for weeks at a time, UniverSoul Circus kept tigers in cages so small that they could not make “normal postural adjustments.” The confinement causes many animals to go insane.

Chains are used to restrain non-human animals in just as they were to restrain humans during the African slave trade.

Chains are used to restrain animals in circuses just as they were to restrain humans during the African slave trade.

Like the victims of the African slave trade, circus animals work out of fear of punishment. Tigers and lions are whipped; monkeys and camels are beaten with sticks; and elephants are stabbed with bullhooks, devices that resemble a fireplace poker. Fear is the only way to entice wild animals to perform unnatural – and often scary and painful – tricks in front of noisy crowds.

Like the African slaves, circus animals are forced to work under threat of violent punishment.

Like African slaves, circus animals are forced to work under threat of violent punishment.

The bullhook is a weapon used to beat and control elephants in circuses.

The bullhook is a weapon used to beat and control elephants in circuses.

Like the victims of the victims of the African slave trade, circus animals often taken have their children taken from them. The kidnapped children are taught to fear humans at a very age. Baby elephants, for instance, are tied up; beaten with bullhooks; and shocked with police tasers. Young animals, especially lions and tigers, are often used for photo ops.

Baby animals are oftentimes taken away away from their mothers in circuses, not so differently from how families were separated at Southern slave auctions.

In circuses and slave auctions, babies are and were taken away from their mothers.

The plight of circus animals falls squarely into the definition of slavery.

Your Turn

To learn more about the plight of circus animals and what you can do to help them please visit Born Free USA.

 


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America’s Captive Tiger Crisis

November 4, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Recent attacks on humans by captive tigers in India, China, Australia and Singapore have shined an international spotlight on the danger and cruelty of keeping one of the planet’s top predators in captivity. In the United States, captive tigers and other big cats have, in the past twenty-four years, killed four children and eight adults.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, approximately 5,000 tigers are being held captive in the United States. Six percent of them reside in zoos and similar accredited facilities. The remainder are warehoused in squalid cages in backyards, unaccredited zoos, sideshows, circuses, private breeding facilities, and even a roadside truck stop.

Tiger in NYC apartment

Tiger in NYC apartment

Thirty-two states have banned private ownership of tigers; 10 require a license; and eight states have no regulation. What little regulation does exist to prohibit and protect big cats in captivity is often unenforced. A federal bill to ban the private possession and breeding of big cats – The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act – has 114 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.

Of the 5,000 captive tigers in the U.S., only a lucky few will be rescued and relocated to sanctuaries where their needs take priority. In October, four tigers hit the feline lottery with the opening of a new habitat at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas. Ben Callison, director of the Ranch, speaks to Jane Velez Mitchell about the new sanctuary and big cat captivity:

Anastasia & Natalia at Black Beauty Ranch. (Photo: Brandon Wade/HSUS)

Anastasia & Natalia at Black Beauty Ranch. (Photo: Brandon Wade/HSUS)

Even the best of sanctuaries, however, cannot meet the needs of nature’s top predators. In the wild, tigers carve out large territories based on the availability of prey animals and mating partners. They hunt and, in spite of the fact that they are solitary animals, they sometimes share their kill with other tigers. The run 30 – 40 mph, and they can swim up to 18 miles a day.

Tiger on the hunt

Tiger stalking her prey

Your Turn

Contact your U.S. representative and Senators to ask them to support The Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act.

Please learn more about why holding wild animals captive is cruel; boycott zoos and circuses; and speak out.

Please visit Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch’s website to learn more about the tiger sanctuary and support their efforts to provide sanctuary to animals rescued from captivity.


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Circus Tiger Kills Girl

November 3, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

A tiger at a Chinese amusement park dragged an eight-year-old girl into his enclosure and mauled her to death. The amusement park owners withheld the information from the press, but rumors forced them to admit that the event occurred.

Tiger show at Leheledu Amusement Park in China

Tiger show at Leheledu Amusement Park in China

The tragedy took place just one month after a tiger killed zoo visitor in India in an incident that was captured on camera. That victim was 20 years old.

Tiger at India zoo kills patron

Tiger at New Delhi Zoo kills man who fell into his enclosure

Your Turn

Both tragedies were entirely preventable, as the victims – the tigers and their human prey – should never have been in a zoo or circus in the first place.

In their natural habitat, tigers hunt for prey, raise their cubs, swim long distances, establish territories and forge relationships. In circuses and zoos, they pace back and forth, unable to perform any of the activities that make their lives worth living.  Zoos and circuses are cruel and exploitive, and they teach children that kidnapping and putting animals behind bars for entertainment are acceptable behaviors.

Please learn more about why holding wild animals captive is cruel; boycott zoos and circuses; and speak out.


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