Issues  »  End The Use of Exotic Animals in the Circus


NYC Intro. 1233A
Council Members Mendez, Johnson, Palma, Cabrera, Dromm, Koslowitz, Williams, Rodriguez, Rosenthal, Gibson, Torres, Cohen, Levin, Vacca, Cornegy, Richards, Reynoso, Salamanca, Menchaca, Espinal, Ferreras-Copeland, Chin, Lander, Gentile, Van Bramer, Levine, Perkins, Cumbo, Maisel, Garodnick, Grodenchik, Vallone,Treyger, Ulrich, Public Advocate James


ESHV supports the enactment of NYC Intro. 1233A to prohibit the use of wild or exotic animals in circuses.


The use of wild animals in circuses is inhumane and a serious risk to public safety. Intro. 1233A is needed because current laws do not adequately protect animals and people from the cruelty and safety risks posed by the use of wild animals in circuses in New York City.

Animal Cruelty

In the wild elephants do not perform headstands, bears do not balance on balls, and tigers do not jump through rings of fire. Circus animals are forced to perform these unnatural tricks under threat of physical punishment. Numerous undercover investigations have demonstrated widespread use of brutal and abusive training techniques for circus animals including shocking with electric prods, and beatings with metal bars, baseball bats, whips, pitchforks and hooked rods known as bullhooks. 1 Animals may also be drugged or have their teeth or claws surgically removed. When they are not being forced to perform, circus animals endure extensive travel – sometimes 11 months out of the year – in cramped trailers where they are often chained and isolated for long durations and denied exercise and other natural behavioral needs. This unnatural confinement leads to further psychological and physical trauma.

Public Safety

The use of wild animals in circuses poses a serious risk to public safety. Wild animals by nature can act instinctively and unpredictably. Factoring in the additional and chronic stress caused by the abusive training methods and conditions of captivity, there is a high risk that these animals may attempt to attack or escape. Wild animals may also carry serious transmittable diseases and infections, including tuberculosis. Current local, state, and federal law does not adequately protect circus animals from cruelty or protect the public from the dangers posed by these animals. Indeed many of the circuses that routinely perform in NYC have been repeatedly cited for violations of the Animal Welfare Act and have been documented engaging in egregious animal cruelty in undercover video investigations. Greenburgh, NY, Plattsburgh, NY and Southampton, NY have already enacted local laws to ban the use of wild animals in circuses and a many other states and municipalities in the U.S. and around the globe have enacted done the same. It’s time for NYC to prioritize humane treatment of animals and protecting public safety by enacting Intro. 1233A.

Take Action:

Thank Mayor de Blasio for signing the bill into law!