NYC Councilwoman sponsors ground-breaking bill prohibiting wild and exotic animal displays; Animal Defenders International calls for support from New York animal lovers; ADI General Counsel Christina Scaringe is available for interview in New York about the evidence supporting a ban on wild animals in circuses

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NYC Councilwoman sponsors ground-breaking bill prohibiting wild and exotic animal displays


Animal Defenders International calls for support from New York animal lovers.

ADI General Counsel Christina Scaringe is available for interview in New York about the evidence supporting a ban on wild animals in circuses.


OCTOBER 18, 2016, NEW YORK, NY—Animal Defenders International (ADI) applauds New York City Councilwoman and animal champion Rosie Mendez as she supports proposed local ordinance 1233 – to prohibit the display of wild and exotic animals for public entertainment or amusement. Councilman and co-sponsor Corey Johnson, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Health, has scheduled a public hearing for the bill on October 20th. Councilwoman Mendez is hosting a press conference at City Hall ahead of the hearing.


What: NYC wild animal display ban hearing in Committee on Health
When: Thursday, October 20 

Press conference: 9:15am

Hearing: 10:00am 

Where: NY City Hall, 260 Broadway, New York, NY 10007
  • Contrary to industry claims, federal oversight is complex & costly; it doesn’t consider public safety; and as the agencies admit – it’s not working.


  • These jobs don’t live in New York City. This will not end NY’s status as the world’s most economically powerful city.


  • Human-performance circuses are popular; they require labor, create jobs, and bring dollars to your city without exposing citizens to chronically stressed and abused animals.



ADI was honored to work with CW Mendez’s office and the city attorney on proposed language, and urges New Yorkers to lend their support online at, to join the >2/3 of Americans troubled by the use of animals in this industry, the 60+ local US jurisdictions who’ve implemented some form of ban or restriction, and the 33 nations who’ve banned this use nationwide. Come along with ADI to the hearing on October 20th at New York City Hall to testify in support of the bill and take interviews.


ADI President Jan Creamer said Animal Defenders International worked closely with Councilwoman Mendez’s office on this effort and we know how determined she is to protect wild animals and the public from these cruel and dangerous acts. ADI has repeatedly documented the suffering and abuse of wild animals in circuses. Circuses simply cannot meet the needs of wild animals in small, mobile accommodation. We hope the good people of New York will join ADI on October 20th and speak up for animals in circuses.” 


ADI have announced a special New York City screening of their multi-award winning documentary ‘Lion Ark’ the story of the dramatic rescue and relocation of 25 lions from circuses in Bolivia and their inspirational journey to freedom, to rally support for the bill. The screening, which will feature a Q&A with Director Tim Phillips and Producer Jan Creamer, will be shown on November 10th at UA Court Street 12 & RPX, Brooklyn. Tickets are available here:


33 nations around the world have now banned either wild animals or all animals from traveling shows. It is time for the US to join this list. Despite assurances from the circus industry, the physical and psychological health of animals in circuses is inevitably compromised. Animals in circuses are routinely subjected to brutal training methods and violence – wherever ADI has conducted an undercover investigation around the world, it has documented acts of abuse. Animal circuses do nothing to teach people about the animals’ real needs and the way they live, and have no role in education or conservation.


Earlier this year, ADI rescued over 100 animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in Peru and Colombia, including lions, bears, tigers, monkeys and others. ADI and the governments of Peru and Columbia collaborated for the unprecedented Operation Spirit of Freedom campaign; animals were rehabilitated at the ADI rescue center and rehomed in their natural habitats, with 33 African lions returned to their native Africa to start a new life at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, where ADI is funding construction of their habitats and their care.


In NYC, support local ordinance 1233:

Push for the reintroduction of TEAPA, the bill that would secure a US wide ban:

Join the global campaign to Stop Circus Suffering:


Background – worldwide movement to end the use of wild animals in traveling shows the evidence that the suffering caused to wild animals by the constant travel, severe restrictions on movement and unnatural lifestyle has prompted authorities and governments around the world to end their use.


In the United States, more than 60 jurisdictions in 27 states have taken action to restrict wild animals from traveling circuses. Hundreds of local ordinances are in place around the world, including in the UK, Europe, and South America.


National restrictions on performing animals in travelling circuses, either wild or all animals, have been enacted in 33 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Israel, Malta, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Taiwan, and The Netherlands. Similar laws are under discussion in the UK, USA, Brazil and Chile.
Whether it is a traveling circus, or travel from county show to county show, the confinement for the animals is the same:

  • Traveling circuses cannot meet the physical, psychological or behavioral needs of wild animals, due to severe confinement, physical and social deprivation, long periods of time in transporters, with brutal control methods and physical violence.
  • It is a myth that wild animals are trained with kindness and reward; the tools of the trade include stun guns and other electric prods, metal bars, whips, bullhooks (a heavy bar with a sharpened point and hook), deprivation of food and water and intimidation.
  • Keeping stressed, large, and dangerous wild animals close to the public in lightweight, temporary enclosures has proven disastrous. Workers and members of the public have been killed and maimed; lions, tigers and elephants have all escaped.
  • It is estimated that around 12% of Asian and 2% of African elephants in North America have tuberculosis (TB), a disease transmissible from elephants to humans.
  • Because of the traveling nature of the circus, animal welfare officers have difficulty protecting the animals, making inspections, despite significant associated time and costs. This justifies a restriction, for the protection of the animals and the public.
  • Circuses must change with the times. Human only circuses are thriving. Cirque du Soleil now has 19 shows in 271 cities, generating an estimated $810 million a year. Whereas the wild animal traveling show, Piccadilly Circus, recently canceled performances across Southern California due to poor ticket sales.

Circus workers perform multiple roles; staff can be retrained, so jobs are not lost. Circus Vargas removed their animal acts and the business continues. Surveys have shown that a decline in animal circuses can be matched by a rise in circuses with human performers.


Animal Defenders International (ADI) is active worldwide to end the suffering of captive animals in commercial use: animals used in entertainment – film, television, advertising, circuses and sport or leisure such as hunting or for products such as fur. Replacement of animals in scientific research; funding and promotion of non-animal advanced methods. ADI investigates, produces evidence and reports on the scientific, legal and economic issues for each case study, recommending solutions. Information is distributed to the media, public and officials. Where ADI’s evidence has been a catalyst for change, we collaborate with governments to conduct large scale seizures or rescues of wild animals in captivity and relocate them to forever homes – back to their natural habitat wherever possible.


Animal Defenders International: Ending the suffering of animals in captivity and protecting wild animals and their environments

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