Governor Cuomo Signs Elephant Protection Act

Share Article

Pace University Students Make New York First to Ban Performing Elephants

Thanks to the advocacy of the students, staff and faculty of the Pace University Environmental Policy Clinic, New York State has now passed significant legislation that will protect elephants from cruel and inhumane treatment. -- Senator Terrance Murphy

Forcing elephants to perform in circuses and other entertainment venues has been relegated to a bygone era under legislation originated by students of Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts and Sciences Environmental Clinic and signed into law Thursday by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The Elephant Protection Act, sponsored by state Senator Terrence Murphy and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, makes New York State the first in the nation to implement an outright ban on the use of elephants in entertainment. Pace students first brought the idea for the bill to the legislature in 2016 and spent the next two legislative sessions lobbying for its passage.
“It is time society put an end to this barbaric relic of another age,” said Michelle Land, clinical professor of environmental law and policy at Pace. “Wild elephant populations are in dire straits globally. By recognizing its duty to end entertainment acts that perpetuate misinformation and false values about the species, New York State is setting an example today that we believe other states will follow”
The student clinicians, who actively lobbied in Albany and collected 1,100 student signatures in support of the bill, wrote to the governor, “The contention of circuses, trainers and managers that performing elephants are ‘educational’ is demonstrably false -- one has only to attend a performance to understand. Silly tricks such as headstands, balancing on stools, and parading in foolish costumes undermine a child’s appreciation and understanding of wildlife.”

The training of elephants to perform tricks for audiences has come under fire for years, even forcing some big name circuses out of business. New York State law now recognizes that ordinary animal welfare laws cannot protect elephants from an industry whose practices are inherently cruel. At present, as many as nine circuses bring elephants through New York State annually. 
“We are so pleased that this important legislation came out of the work of the students and faculty of the Pace Environmental Policy Clinic," said Pace President Marvin Krislov. “Dealing with real world issues and making a community impact is what a Pace education is all about.” 
Senator Terrence Murphy said, "Thanks to the advocacy of the students, staff and faculty of the Pace University Environmental Policy Clinic, New York State has now passed significant legislation that will protect elephants from cruel and inhumane treatment.  Once again, New York State is proving to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves."
“Elephants have been exploited and abused in entertainment acts for too long,” Paulin said. “Confinement, torture and unhealthy living conditions have led to early death for these intelligent, gentle animals. Today, New York has become the leader in ending this horrible practice. Elephants will no longer be subjected to cruel treatment for our amusement.”
About Dyson College of Arts and Sciences:  Pace University’s liberal arts college, Dyson College offers more than 50 undergraduate and 14 graduate programs, spanning the arts and humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and pre-professional programs (including pre-medicine, pre-veterinary, and pre-law), as well as numerous courses that fulfill core curriculum requirements. The College offers access to numerous opportunities for internships, cooperative education and other hands-on learning experiences that complement in-class learning in preparing graduates for career and graduate/professional education choices.

About Pace University: Since 1906, Pace has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in Lower Manhattan and Westchester County, NY, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Cara Cea
Pace University
+1 914-906-9680
Email >
Visit website