NEW YORK’S mayor has vowed to ban circus animals performing in the city in a move which has caused fury.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged end animal acts which could shut down the famous UniverSoul Circus.
He has the backing of the city council but circus spokesperson Ben Johnson angrily opposed the plan and said it would damage the city.
He said: “The animals are treated humanely at all times.
“But the fantasy that circus acts abuse their stars is central to the outrage of the animal-rights nuts.
“Keeping the show out of the city will harm the locals who now work for it, as well as other businesses that are bolstered by the spectacle.”
The New York bill says wild animal acts are “detrimental to animal welfare”.
UniverSoul Circus features mostly African-American performers and has served unprivileged neighbourhoods for 20 years and is the last remaining circus to visit New York which features animals.
Johnson feared losing animals would sound the death knell for UniverSoul as it did for for the oldest circus in the world called the Ringling Brothers.
He added: “It’s hard for the circus to stay in business without the animal acts.
Retiring its elephants led directly to the death of Ringling Bros.”
“Don’t expect it to end here: If the zealots can finish off the circus, they’ll set their sights on zoos and aquariums next.”