New York Moves to Ban Elephants Used in Entertainment

State’s Senate votes unanimously in favor of an elephant protection act that would create unprecedented standards for elephant welfare.

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In a sweeping 62–0 vote, the New York State Senate recently voted to ban the displaying of elephants in any entertainment act. The Elephant Protection Act, if approved by the state Assembly, would outlaw the use of the pachyderms in New York state, with exception of zoos, aquariums, wildlife sanctuaries, and nonprofit environmental education programs. Violations of the ban, introduced by Sen. Terrence Murphy and first written by students of New York’s Pace University, could incur a $10,000 fine. “Elephants kept in captivity live half as long, suffer from foot disease, and social isolation,” Pace student Nicole Virgona said. “They are forced to put themselves in unnatural positions. It’s up to us to voice our opinion, and make a difference.” The news comes shortly after Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus retired its troupe of elephants after 145 years.