Proposal Would Ban Lions, Tigers, Bears And Other Exotic Animals From Circus Acts In NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The days of going to the circus may be coming to an end in New York City.

A new bill expected to be considered by the City Council would ban wild or exotic animals for public entertainment or amusement, with exceptions for zoos and religious ceremonies.

The proposed bill would effectively end certain circus performances in New York City.

Councilmember Rosie Mendez said she sees training of the animals as inhumane because they “sometimes are physically hit in order to get them to learn or perform the trick.”

“Some of these animals in different cities have escaped and have attacked people, so we’re talking about the safety of the animals, we’re talking about the safety of human beings,” Mendez said.

As CBS2’s Hazel Sanches reported, Mendez said she has been proposing and revising the bill since 2006.

The bill is backed by NYCLASS, the animal rights group that tried to ban horse carriage rides in Central Park. The group’s executive director previously said animals in the circus are horribly abused, the Daily News reported.

Stephen Payne, vice president of Feld Entertainment, parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, insists their animals are not mistreated.

“Our animals are trained through repetition and reward and really the bond between our human and animal performers and the trust that exists there is most important,” Payne said.

“We are already inspected and governed by regulations at the local, state, and federal level,” he added. “We’re very happy to have transparency in our animal care. We’re very proud of what we do.”

Stephen Payne, spokesperson for Feld Entertainment, said he questions the motivation behind the legislation. He believes the failed ban of the horse and carriage industry has pushed animal advocates to go after the circus.

“Sadly, they decided that Ringling Brothers and other circuses and other exhibitors would be a target that would serve no purpose other than to cost jobs and deny thousands of New Yorkers to see Ringling Brothers and other circuses when they come to the city,” he said.

NYCLASS is currently being investigated for allegedly donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to Mayor de Blasio’s campaign in an effort to ban horse drawn carriages.

Mendez said NYCLASS is not influencing her, claiming she hasn’t had a relationship with the group since 2014, and that they haven’t donated to her campaign.

She said her bill is not about campaign promises, it’s about protecting the animals and the people of New York.

She said if the bill passes there will be exceptions, including animals on display for religious purposes.

A hearing on the bill is set for Oct. 20.


One Comment

  1. I totally support this bill! No progressive community should allow animal abuse and exploitation.

    1. Please Heather What Explotation. ? You are so far out of touch with REALITY

  2. lucyspost says:

    This would be a huge step forward. Animals don’t perform circus tricks willingly. They do them out of fear for the beatings that await if they don’t. And life in boxcars, cages, and chains is no life at all for these animals.

  3. Craig Shapiro says:

    I’m totally behind this ban. Purchasing a ticket to a circus or traveling show–to any attraction that exploits animals–is an endorsement of their abuse.

  4. amy Donovan says:

    “Trained by repetition” means trained by repeated beatings and continual deprivation. In this day and age, everyone knows that animal circuses are cruel. I am so glad to read about this ban. Now if every other city in the U.S. would follow suit…

  5. Jennofur OConnor says:

    I support this ban 100 percent. It’s 2016, for crying out loud. We know that animals suffer in the circus.

  6. Kurt E. says:

    PETA is really distorting this issue. I went on the tour with my son, and they explained to us how regulated they are and how they keep up with all the animal safety measures. They have more safety measures than the zoo! These people know what they’re doing. I don’t know why the city council feels compelled to ban them from the city.

    1. Jennofur OConnor says:

      Kurt, do you truly believe the trainers are going to hit or abuse the animals in front of you and your son? They say “all is well” …what else would you expect them to say? Ringling paid the highest fine in history = $270,000 – for violations of federal animal protection laws. They’ve been caught over and over again abusing animals. Do you really want your son to believe that hurting animals for “fun” is OK?

  7. Anna Rice says:

    Hear! Hear! Finally people are waking up to the fact that whipping tigers and other wild/captive animals into submission to jump through hoops of fire or ride horses is cruel and unessesary. I hope the ban happens. Be a voice for the voiceless animals held in captivity and beaten into submission for our “entertainment”.

    1. Anna, I have been attending CIRCUSES for over 55 years and Worked in CIRCUSES and have never seen ANY ANIMAL being whipped into submission .
      U R comments are YOURS or what U have read somewhere.
      GROW UP go to a CIRCUS and ask to be shown the animals talk to the trainers and staff. BE EDU

  8. Jerry Paulson says:

    This is fantastic. Circuses do not need animals to entertain, this is not the 1800s. Keeping large exotic animald in cages (especially big cats) is very cruel, and even if you have trainers who care about the animals, abuse still happens and its hard to regulate. Animals are not here for our entertainment, exploitation or photo opps. It would be a major step in the right direction for New York to take the lead in compassion and right choice. Please, ban the use of exotic animals in circuses.

  9. “with exceptions for zoos and religious ceremonies.”

    So it’s still okay for churches to exploit animals just because God? Shameful.

    Nonetheless this ban is fantastic! Thank you so much, NY, for thinking of the animals and doing what is right!

    1. Tanja Please STOP your silly comments. YOU have NO idea about Circus Animals . Get a job or a Hobby

      1. Jerry Paulson says:

        Sounds like Tanja knows more about treating animals right than YOU do, Raymond!

  10. Lisa Radl says:

    How do we stop this from happening?
    This ban is for a frightening generalization that should not include the majority of fantastic, caring and good-doing trainers… this is not OK.

  11. B. Rad says:

    I think this a good idea however, the city council and the Mayor should be focusing on the thousands of dogs and cats killed in the NYC shelter system at the hands of animal care and control who murder them after 18 hours of being in the shelter system. Not enough time to find them homes or have rescues take them. The shelter system is broken and Risa Weinstock should be ashamed of herself for failing to acknowledge that. Horses and tigers? What about domestic animals? Where is the humanity in that?

  12. The Training of Exotic Animal training your dog or cat. Beating the animal is useless as is make the animal afraid of you and therefore won’t be able to be trained .
    Animal Rights Groups spread lies and propaganda about CIRCUS ANIMALS in general

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