We help elect candidates who support animal protection, lobby for strong laws to stop animal cruelty, and hold elected officials accountable to humane voters

Why We’re Different

VFAR focuses exclusively on political advocacy for animals in New York. We mobilize voters and organize lobbying efforts to give a voice to animals. Through the political process, we are building a coalition of advocates seeking to strike at the root cause of animal abuse and cruelty, which is a lack of fundamental rights and laws to protect them.

We campaign for all animals.

Explore Our Current Agenda Issues

  • BANNING
    SALES OF
    DOGS AND CATS
    IN PET STORES
    BANNING SALES OF DOGS AND CATS IN PET STORES

    Problem: The puppy and kitten mill/pet store connection creates lives of misery from beginning to end. Breeding facilities and pet store have repeatedly been found to have poor sanitation, infectious disease, animals overcrowded in cages with no exercise, lack of proper veterinary care, lack of protection from harsh weather conditions, and lack of adequate food and water. These conditions result in great suffering, and many sick offspring are sold to unaware consumers. With millions of homeless animals languishing in shelters, why should pet stores and breeders be allowed to profit off the backs of animals?

    Solution: VFAR is working on legislation that would ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores, unless they come from a rescue or a shelter.

  • ENDING
    THE PRACTICE OF
    CAT DECLAWING
    ENDING THE PRACTICE OF CAT DECLAWING

    Problem: Declawing, or onychectomy, is a major surgical procedure involving multiple amputations of the last bone of each of your cat’s toes. It is not a surgery that removes just the nails, but in fact a complex surgery that is incredibly detrimental to felines and has been found to be an unnecessary procedure — both scientifically and ethically. Declawing can cause serious short- and long-term physical problems such as painful paws, infections, and tissue death and also behavioral issues such as aggression and/or inappropriate soiling. Cat declawing can also endanger humans as cats will revert to biting in order to defend themselves. Contrary to popular belief, cat surrenders to animal shelters do not increase after a declaw ban is enacted. Shelter studies conducted by the Paw Project in 2015 showed that there were lower owner-surrender cat intakes post legislation, reporting a 43% reduction.

    Solution: VFAR stands by humane alternatives to declawing and is looking forward to New York joining the European Union, the U.K., Australia, Brazil, Israel, Denver and several California cities in banning this practice. We support state legislation A595/S3376 by Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and Senator Joseph Griffo that would ban cat declawing in New York.

  • STOPPING THE
    SALE OF FORCE-FED
    GEESE AND
    DUCK PRODUCTS
    STOPPING THE SALE OF FORCE-FED GEESE AND DUCK PRODUCTS

    Problem: Foie Gras, or fatty liver, is produced with massive animal suffering. To enlarge the livers of ducks and geese, workers jam metal poles down the animals’ throats in order to feed them up to four pounds of food per day. This process, known as “gavage”, causes the birds’ livers to swell ten times their normal size.

    Multiple undercover investigations of Hudson Valley Foie Gras (the only foie gras producer in New York) from organizations like Mercy For Animals and PETA show malicious animal torture including death from force-feeding, ducks hyperventilating as their unnaturally large livers pressed against their lungs, birds with open, bleeding wounds left to suffer in tiny wire cages without proper veterinary care, and fully conscious ducks being shackled upside down and having their throats cut open. One investigation found that a single worker was expected to force-feed 500 birds three times each day.

    Solution: California has banned the sale of foie gras along with a dozen countries. Because of its cruelty, businesses like Costco, Safeway, Target, Whole Foods Market, and Wolfgang Puck have also refused to sell the diseased liver products. It’s time New York City takes a stand, so we are working to introduce legislation to ends such an inhumane industry.

  • SHUTTERING
    SLAUGHTERHOUSES
    IN OUR
    NEIGHBORHOODS
    SHUTTERING SLAUGHTERHOUSES IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS

    Problem: There are approximately 80 slaughterhouses and live markets in New York City, in all five boroughs – more than any other U.S. city. These storefront abattoirs pose a significant health and safety hazard to the community. Blood, feces, urine, entrails, dismembered body parts, and feathers are normally found on our public sidewalks and streets due to the unsanitary conditions associated with the business of killing. They are a breeding ground for infectious diseases. Countless New Yorkers walk and roll strollers and wheelchairs through the filth every day, tracking bacteria and pathogens into their homes, around our city, and beyond. Many of these slaughterhouses are located dangerously close to schools and playgrounds. When large animals escape, it puts us all in danger of potentially fatal accidents. In addition to the physical dangers, offensive odors can be smelled, and the screams of animals can be heard for blocks — negatively affecting all in the immediate area. Slaughterhouses also lower property values of the surrounding area.

    Due to these concerns, and thanks to advocates from HSUS, New York State enacted a law in 2008 which prohibits the licensing of any new slaughterhouse within 1,500 feet of a residence in NYC. This law must be renewed every four years, and thanks to Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature, it was renewed in 2012 and 2016.

    Solution: VFAR proposes to introduce similar legislation at the city level to permanently ban the licensing of slaughterhouses anywhere within city limits. We look forward to working with the City Council to improve the health and safety of our city and its residents. We believe that most New Yorkers agree: slaughterhouses do not belong in our neighborhoods.

  • JOINING
    OTHER CITIES IN
    BANNING THE
    SALE OF FUR
    JOINING OTHER CITIES IN BANNING THE SALE OF FUR

    Problem: It’s no secret that the fur industry is unthinkably cruel. Fur farms breed and confine animals in tiny, filthy cages where they suffer intense stress. They are beaten, bludgeoned, anally/vaginally electrocuted, and often skinned alive. And trapping animals in the wild is no better! Animals are trapped in cruel leg hold traps where they can suffer for days in excruciating pain — starving, until the trapper returns to shoot or bludgeon them to death. Mother coyotes are known to attempt to chew off their own legs trying to break free, desperate to get back to their young pups. Many other animals are unintentionally caught and killed in these traps, including household pets.

    Solution: We will introduce a ban on the sale of fur in New York City. We take the bold stand against a cruel and dying industry and position ourselves on the right side of history. West Hollywood, Berkeley, and San Francisco have enacted bans on the sale of fur and NYC will join them as progressive pioneers. Several countries — Norway, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, and the U.K. — have taken steps to close fur farms. With public awareness and innovative alternatives on the rise, popular designers such as Versace, Gucci, Michael Kors, BCBG Max Azria, Gap Inc., and The North Face have stopped using all animal fur. New York can get quite cold, but there is never an excuse to contribute to such suffering when so many viable, stylish, and warm ethical alternatives exist such as Vaute Couture, Hemp Hoodlamb, Wully Outerwear, Save The Duck, Noize, and more. Join us in this momentous undertaking.

  • TOUGHER
    PENALTIES FOR
    CAPTURING
    WILD BIRDS
    TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR CAPTURING WILD BIRDS

    Problem: The extremely brutal Pennsylvania pigeon shooting contests are largely supplied with pigeons cruelly and illegally stolen from the streets of New York City. Our urban wildlife friends are painfully captured by hired guns of the pigeon shoot industry who prey on flocks of peaceful birds by throwing them seeds and then violently capturing them in a huge net that clamps shut in seconds, often breaking the birds' legs or wings. These birds are then driven in confinement to be sold for use in the last-remaining pigeon shoots in PA where they are kept in tiny dark cages with no food or water prior to being shot, and killed at close range in killing contests. Even though this capturing of pigeons and other wild birds in NYC is illegal, the current laws provide only for a violation — similar to a traffic ticket. These weak laws, which are also murkily-written, make it extremely difficult for the NYPD Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad and other police officers to make meaningful arrests due to the turnstile cycle of bird netters paying fines and cruelly netting pigeons as soon as the very next day.

    Solution:
    VFAR will work to pass legislation to increase the level of this already illegal and sadistic activity to a misdemeanor and to make the illegality of this activity much clearer, thereby making it easier for the NYPD to get these wild bird thieves off the streets and protect these beautiful NYC birds. This could also ultimately help bring an end to the horrific PA pigeon shoots once and for all.

  • enforcing
    the ban on
    animals in
    circuses
    enforcing the ban on animals in circuses

    In 2017, VFAR helped lead the effort to pass Intro 1233 into law, which banned the use of wild animals in circuses in NYC. This was our first victory, and We are grateful to the City Council and Mayor de Blasio for taking this bold step!

    But now, the circus industry is trying to gut the law by introducing a new bill, Intro 57, that would delay implementation of the ban by at least two years. We oppose this effort to proliferate the suffering of circus animals, and will fight to keep the effective date of the law (October 1, 2018) in place. You can help by calling your City Council Member and urging them to OPPOSE Intro 57.

  • healthy
    plant-based
    food for
    New Yorkers
    healthy plant-based food for New Yorkers

    We support the efforts of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Council Member Fernando Cabrera, who introduced Reso 238 which calls on the New York City Department of Education to ban processed meats from being served in New York City public schools. We also support Reso 551 by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, which recognizes 'Meatless Monday" in NYC: a national and international campaign that encourages people to enjoy meat-free meals on Mondays to improve their personal and public health, animal welfare, wildlife protection, and environmental and agricultural sustainability.

  • alternatives
    to using animals
    as classroom
    science projects
    alternatives to using animals as classroom science projects

    We are working to introduce legislation that would stop the use of live animals in classroom science projects and making dissection projects a thing of the past.

  • protecting
    ny wildlife
    protecting ny wildlife

    We support the WildlifeNYC initiative to promote awareness and co-existence with urban wildlife. We advocate for humane strategies to conflicts with urban wildlife, support efforts to aid groups and individuals working in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, and support efforts to address risk of migrating birds collisions with glass buildings.