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Animal Rights Activists and Billionaire John Catsimatidis Clash Over His Plan to Import Pandas

December 27, 2017 by Leave a Comment


The News

John Catsimatidis, one of the two billionaires helping U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney raise $50 million to rent a pair of pandas from China and put them on display in NYC, defended his plan during a dramatic confrontation with animal rights activists:

During the confrontation, Mr. Catsimatidis defended the importation of pandas on the grounds that New Yorkers want them: “We’ve taken polls. Ninety percent of New Yorkers say, ‘We love pandas, and we want them in New York.'”

The day after the clash, Mr. Catsimatidis invited protest organizer Donny Moss onto his radio show to debate the issue:

“I think that Mr. Catsimatidis genuinely cares about animals,” said protest organizer Donny Moss. “If he took the time to learn why holding wild animals captive for our entertainment is outdated and inhumane, then he might change his mind about renting pandas from China, and he might understand why the animal advocacy community in NYC must continue protesting his plan.”

Animal rights activists in NYC are protesting a plan to rent pandas from China and put them on display in NYC.

In February 2017,  Mr. Catsimatidis, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and billionaire Maurice (Hank) Greenberg held a fundraiser called the “Black & White Panda Ball” at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to raise money for the project, which is estimated to cost $50 million.  The gala raised approximately $500,000. Their charity, The Pandas are Coming to NYC, continues to raise money.

Your Turn

Please sign the Care2 petition asking U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney to call off her plan to import pandas into NYC for display.

Follow No Panda Prison NYC on Facebook.


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U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Protested Over Plan to Display Pandas

December 11, 2017 by Leave a Comment


The News

As prominent women in NYC politics entered a political fundraiser headlined by Hillary Clinton, they were confronted by over 30 animal rights activists who were protesting one of the attendees, U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, over her plan to rent a pair of giant pandas from China and put them on display in an enclosure in NYC.

The activists, who are opposed to holding wild animals captive for entertainment, say that panda breeding facilities in China are panda mills in disguise and that renting pandas fuels the market for captive pandas; helps to perpetuate the physical abuse documented at panda mills: and does nothing to conserve pandas in their natural habitat. 

Animal Rights activists protest Carolyn Maloney’s plan to display pandas in a “Panda Pavillion” in NYC

“Pandas are wild animals who belong in the forests of China,” said Jessica Hollander, a NYC artist and activist who participated in the protest. “More and more New Yorkers are rejecting captivity, as evidenced by the recent passage of a NYC law banning wild animals in circuses. Ms. Maloney would be turning back the clock if she went forward with her archaic plan.”

Activists chanted “No Panda Prison in NYC” as hundreds of New Yorkers entered an event for women in politics

Congresswoman Maloney avoided protesters by entering the event through a side door, but activists did interact with several luminaries who entered through the front, including U.S. Congresswomen Nydia Velazquez; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; NYC Public Advocate Letitia James and Huma Abedin, the vice chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign.

Huma Abedin, the Vice Chair of Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign, stops to look at the protest and take a handout.

In February 2017, Congresswomen Maloney held a “Black & White Panda Ball” at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to raise money for the project, which is estimated to cost $50 million over a period of 10 years.  The gala raised approximately $500,000. Her charity, The Pandas are Coming to NYC, continues to raise money.

At the “Black & White Panda Ball,” U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is flanked by Maurice (Hank) Greenberg and John Catsimatidis, two billionaires who are backing her plan to import and display pandas.

Your Turn

Please sign the Care2 petition asking Carolyn Maloney to call off her plan to import pandas into NYC for display.

Follow No Panda Prison NYC on Facebook.


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Protesters at Malaysia Consulate in NYC Demand Freedom for Lasah the Elephant

October 16, 2017 by Leave a Comment


The News

Animal rights activists staged a protest the Consulate of Malaysia in NYC to demand that the government liberate Lasah, a 37 year old elephant being held captive on Langkawi, an island off the coast of Malaysia that is popular with tourists.

Poachers kidnapped Lasah from the jungle in Malaysia approximately 35 years ago, taking him away from his mother and his herd. In the decades since, Lasah has been exploited by the logging and entertainment industries.  Today, he gives elephant rides at Langkawi Elephant Adventures. He has no elephant companions; he has no access to water for bathing; and he has been photographed after hours being chained by his legs.

Lasah at Langkawi Elephant Adventures

For the past year, the NGO Friends of the Orangutans Malaysia has been campaigning to compel the Malaysian government to relocate Lasah to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, where he could spend his remaining years unshackled and in the company of other elephants.  Upon learning of Lasah’s plight, animal rights organizations around the world have stepped in to lend their voice.  Protests have been also been staged at the Consulate of Malaysia in London, in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia’s capital) and in Los Angeles, California.

Activists around the world demand that Malaysia liberate Lasah from his captors, Langkawi Elephant Adventures, and move him to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary.

“Lasah represents so many animals trapped in the tourist industry. If he’s released, that can pave the way for the others,” said Hannah Morris, a British photographer who has been ignored by the Malaysian government since she began campaigning to free Lasah since 2012.  In May, 2017, Ms. Morris spent the night in a tidal sea cave and documented her experience in a video called TRAPPED to raise awareness of the plight of Lasah.

On October 11th, the legendary French actress Brigette Bardot sent a letter to Malaysia’s Environment Minister asking that he relocate Lasah to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary. After being targeted with a Twitter campaign, Hotels.com/Expedia removed the pages on its website promoting elephant rides with Lasah.

In order to give elephant rides, Lasah was “broken” by being beaten into submission by his captors (photo: Hannah Morris)

At the protest in New York City, activists confronted visitors entering and exiting the Malaysian Consulate, informing them about Lasah and asking them to join caring people around the world in boycotting Malaysia until the government gives its 37 year old prisoner a reprieve.

Activist protest on the steps of the Consulate of Malaysia until NYPD Counter Terrorism officials removed them

Your Turn

Follow the campaign to free Lasah on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sign the Care2 petition asking the Prime Minister of Malaysia to move Lasah to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary.

Post a comment under any of the posts on the Tourism Malaysia Facebook page, which has over three million followers.  Use the photo below.


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Backlash Against Politician’s Plan to Import Pandas and Put Them on Display in NYC

September 20, 2017 by Leave a Comment


The News

Carolyn Maloney, a U.S. Congresswoman from New York, is working to import a pair of giant pandas from China and display them in New York City.  

In a YouTube video, “The Pandas are Coming to NYC,” Maloney cites several ways in which this endeavor will benefit humans, including education, entertainment, increased tourism, and improved relations with China. She makes no mention, however, of the welfare of the pandas, who, like other wild animals, suffer in captivity.

U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney hosted a “Panda Ball” in NYC to raise money to import pandas from China to NYC.

Pandas are wild animals, not objects for display. In the forests of China, they have rich lives, gathering food, roaming freely and raising their young.  In captivity, they languish in their exhibit spaces while people take selfies through sheets of glass.

In 2012, the Director of Conservation Education at China’s largest panda breeding facility described captive-bred pandas as a “caricature” of the real thing. People who are genuinely interested in learning about pandas can watch nature shows that document their behavior in the wild. Observing pandas in an artificial enclosure will only teach people that wild animals can be imprisoned for our amusement. Furthermore, it will do nothing to help conserve pandas in the wild.

Animal rights activists say pandas are wild animals with instinctual needs that can not be met in captivity.

If Congresswoman Maloney moves forward with her plan to rent pandas from China, she will not only fuel the market for captive pandas but also help to perpetuate the abuse that exists in China’s panda breeding facilities. Undercover video released in July, 2017 showed workers using excessive force on two babies. This disturbing footage reinforces what we already know — that panda breeding facilities are panda mills in disguise. Indeed, the pandas born in captivity are rented out, like commodities, for $1 million/year to zoos.

Wild animal captivity is already losing favor in the mainstream, as evidenced by the closure of Ringling Bros., plummeting attendance at SeaWorld and the newly passed NYC law banning wild animals in circuses. Indeed, public attitudes are already shifting in favor of freedom.

Your Turn

Please sign the Care2 petition asking Carolyn Maloney to call off her plan to import pandas into NYC for display.

Follow No Panda Prison NYC on Facebook.


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As Carriage Horses Fight NYC Heat, Animal Rights Activists Fight City Hall

July 5, 2017 by Leave a Comment


The News

As carriage horses pounded the pavement in NYC’s sweltering heat, over 50 animal rights activists staged a protest at the Department of Health (DOH) to demand that the city enforce what few laws exist to protect the beasts of burden.

NYCLASS and PETA targeted the DOH, which is responsible for protecting the horses on the streets and in the buildings where they are kept at night, because the city agency has refused to take action following several incidents in which carriage horses collided with motor vehicles; ran untethered through the streets midtown Manhattan; or were photographed living in squalid conditions.

Animal rights activists with NYCLASS and PETA demand that the NYC Department of Health enforce laws to protect carriage horses

While running for Mayor of NYC in 2013, Bill de Blasio publicly pledged on at least a dozen occasions to “end carriage rides” in midtown Manhattan. “Watch me do it!” he said. Advocates speculate that he has walked away from his promise because betraying the animal rights community, which was instrumental in getting him elected, is more politically expedient than angering the media and unions, which staunchly support the horse-drawn carriage trade.

Your Turn

Join the fight to ban inhumane and unsafe horse-drawn carriages from NYC.

To learn more about NYC’s epic horse-drawn carriage controversy, watch the documentary film BLINDERS: The Truth Behind The Tradition.


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