New York City Council Members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill to ban travelling circuses to bring wild animals into the city.
Members voted 43-6 to pass the bill introduced by Rosie Méndez and co-sponsored by Corey Johnson, making NYC the largest city to pass such a significant reform.
The legislation, which has been in the pipeline for over a decade, will finally come into effect in one year's time.
Animal rights and welfare organizations are delighted by the news.
PETA’s senior vice president of campaigns, Dan Mathews, who’s spent years pushing for New York City’s circus and horse-drawn carriage bans, said: “Wild animals have been suffering in New York City circuses since 1794, when monkeys were forced to perform at Ricketts’ Circus on Broadway.
"Council Members Rosie Méndez and Corey Johnson have made history—and made New York a much more civilized city.”
Mendez thanked people who had supported the legislation and said: "It’s taken a long time. We made a lot of changes to the bill. So I wanna thank the people who supported it and the people who were opposed because through that process, we made this a better bill."
If (as is likely) the bill is signed into law, New York City will join 125 localities in 24 states across the US, which have either partial or full bans on circus animals.
A sign of things to come
This bill is just one part of the growing public support to ban animals from performance. Activists hope it will lead the way for more widespread similar legislation.
According to a spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States: "In the wake of New York City’s vote, we will continue to see the adoption of policies to forbid wild animal acts.
"Meanwhile, more people interested in acrobatics and other forms of arena entertainment can buy tickets for Cirque du Soleil and other enterprises using talented and willing human performers.
"There, you can experience the pleasure of awe-inspiring performances and know that you’ve not sustained an ounce of animal cruelty in the process."