ALBANY, N.Y. -- Pace University students in the Dyson College of Arts & Sciences Environmental Policy Clinic and their co-faculty, John Cronin and Michelle Land, visited Albany last month to discuss a state-wide ban on the use of elephants in circuses and other entertainment acts.
The students and professors visited the Legislative Office Building at the offices of Senators Terrence Murphy and Joseph Griffo and Assembly members Tom Abinanti, Amy R. Paulin and William Magee. Students met with staffers of Griffo, Abinanti and Magee's offices, and were able to meet directly with Senator Murphy and Assemblywoman Paulin.
The students explained the physical and psychological trauma for elephants in entertainment is no longer acceptable to society, as evidenced by the recent announcement by Feld Entertainment to retire its elephants from the Ringling Brothers Circus in May 2016.
Students shared information about why elephants live less than one-half as long while in captivity as entertainers than their wild counterparts. They explained how the increased mortality is a result of how the elephants are trained to be fearful of their handlers. The cited cases where the animals are forced to perform unnatural tricks, travel 11 months out of the year in tractor trailers or train box cars, are chained the majority of the day, constantly stand on hard concrete surfaces and deprived of connections with other elephants. This is in stark contrast to wild elephants that are in regular motion, traveling miles each day in close family groups.
The students impressed legislators who invited the team to return after semester break with a bill proposal.