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.
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.
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.”