Action Alert: Hearing Scheduled for New York City Performing Animal Ban

Contact New York City Council to Oppose Performing Animal Ban

Hearing on Thursday, October 20, 10:00AM (Committee on Health)

The New York City Council’s Committee on Health will be considering an ordinance “to prohibit the display of wild or exotic animals for public entertainment or amusement. “  This measure (Ordinance Int. No. 1233-2016) seeks to ban all forms of animals in entertainment in New York City.

·         Ordinance Int. No. 1233-2016 would prohibit any wild/exotic animals in circuses, exhibitions, performances, animal rides, parades, carnivals, and petting zoos.

·         Wild/exotic animals named in this ordinance include elephants, tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, kangaroos, primates, zebras, bears, giraffes, camels, llamas, and others.

·         Non-mobile exhibits and “educational or conservation programs or presentations” in AZA-accredited institutions are exempted, as well as animals used as displays in religious ceremonies.

·         If passed, the law would become effective 180 days after passage.

Ordinance Int. No. 1233-2016 was introduced by two members of the Committee on Health: Committee Chair Corey Johnson and Committee member Rosie Mendez.  The full legislative text is attached for your reference, and also posted on

Animal industry supporters in New York and the surrounding areas are urged to attend the October 20 hearing in person if at all possible.  Local activists are trying to fill the hearing room with as many people as they can to support a performing animal ban, and we need to show the City Council members that there is strong opposition to Ordinance Int. No. 1233-2016.  If you cannot attend the hearing, please take a moment to contact the nine (9) members for the City Council Health Committee by phone, FAX, mail or email to let them know you OPPOSE this legislation.  The contact information for the Health Committee members is listed below.

Corey D. Johnson, Chairperson

Phone: (212) 788-6979
FAX: (212) 788-7207

Inez D. Barron

(email not available)

Phone: 212-788-6957

FAX: 212-676-8595

James G. Van Bramer

Phone: 212-788-7370
FAX: 212-513-7195

James Vacca

Phone: 212-788-7375
FAX: 212-442-2724

Mathieu Eugene

Phone: 212-788-7352
FAX: 212-788-8087

Peter A. Koo

Phone:  212-788-7022

FAX:  718-888-0331

Rafael L. Espinal, Jr.

Phone: 212-788-7284
FAX: 212-227-5636

Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.

Phone: 212-788-7354
FAX: 212-788-8951

Rosie Mendez

Phone: 212-788-7366
FAX: 212-677-1990

General mailing address:

New York City Council

Attention: Correspondence Services
250 Broadway

New York, NY 10007

General email to reach all City Council members:

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, email:

Sample Talking Points

The following are suggestions for your correspondence in New York City, but please use your own words, and you do not need to include every bullet point.  Please keep all correspondence respectful.

·         Politely tell the City Council members that you are OPPOSED to any measure that would ban the use of wild or exotic animals in traveling shows and circuses.

·         Responsible animal owners and exhibitors support reasonable and effective regulations to protect the welfare of ALL animals, and have dedicated themselves to a vocation that puts the animals’ needs first and foremost.

·         There are federal regulations (enforced by USDA) that specifically outline public safety requirements for the display of circus animals.  Federal animal exhibitor licenses are required by all animal attractions or exhibits that are open to the public, with unannounced inspections to ensure compliance with the federal Animal Welfare Act.

·         Ringling Bros. and other exhibitors with “wild and exotic” animals are also regulated and inspected by both the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York City Department of Health.

·         If any animal is being mistreated in any environment, then the right answer is to enforce existing laws and regulations to punish bad actors, as opposed to punishing an entire industry and the public who enjoy performing animal acts and other animal exhibitions.

·         Activist groups are pursuing exotic animal bans on a city-by-city basis across the country in an ideological effort to shut down all animal exhibitions.  If they succeed, local residents will lose the opportunity to view such animals and enjoy the family-friendly entertainment that circuses provide.