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Gov. Cuomo signs bill to protect circus elephants in NY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, seen here on Oct. 5,

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, seen here on Oct. 5, 2017, signed a bill Thursday banning the use of elephants in circuses. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

ALBANY — Ornately adorned elephants at circuses in New York will be just a memory now that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed a law banning the pachyderms at the venues.

The State Legislature passed the bill in June, although the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus stopped using elephants in 2015.

The bill prohibits the use of elephants in circuses and “in any type of entertainment act.” The penalty would be $1,000 for each incident. Not included under the ban are accredited zoos and wildlife sanctuaries.

Supporters say the law will end decades of abuse.

“Elephants have been exploited and abused in entertainment acts for too long,” said Assemb. Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale), who was a co-sponsor of the bill. “Confinement, torture and unhealthy living conditions have led to early death for these intelligent, gentle animals.”

Cuomo signed the Elephant Protection Act bill Thursday.

“The use of elephants in these types of settings is dangerous to their health and potentially abusive,” Cuomo.

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