PETITION TARGET: Suffolk County Legislature
UPDATE (6/20/2023): The local proposal to ban exotics in traveling acts is up for a public hearing on July 25 and will likely be voted on in August, according to a legislative aide who spoke with Lady Freethinker. Meanwhile, a new state bill has been introduced that would ban the selling of exotic animals as “pets.” The Suffolk Supreme Court also has ordered the business Sloth Encounters to shutter, with the owner not allowed to sell sloths or operate as a petting zoo, or face daily fines, according to CBS news. We’ll keep watching this situation. — Lady Freethinker Staff
Sensitive sloths dragged to boisterous birthday parties and monkeys forced to ride running dogs are being exploited in the name of “entertainment.”
But that could soon change in Suffolk County, New York, since legislators recently introduced a bill to ban the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling acts, including at parties, shows, and schools. Violators could face civil penalties of up to $2,500.
The bill also recognizes the dangers of forcing wild animals to travel and “perform,” stating that “traveling performances increase the possibility of escaping exotic, wild and/or non-domesticated animals which can wreak havoc, seriously harm workers and the public.”
The introduction of the bill follows community controversy when a business called Sloth Encounters – which forces solitary sloths to “interact” with humans in broad daylight, when they’d naturally be sleeping— temporarily closed after being ticketed for county permit violations but reportedly shifted to private home visits with the sloths, according to news reports.
Subjecting sloths – or any animals – to forced interactions, hauling them from city to city, or making them perform for profit is cruel and only teaches children that it’s okay to exploit animals.
It’s crucial that this lifesaving legislation in Suffolk County is passed to prevent more needless suffering.
Sign our petition urging the Suffolk County Legislature to pass the ban and inspire other local and state governments to protect wild animals who deserve to live in their natural habitats.