League of Humane Voters prioritizing ‘Cecil’s Law’ and five other bills this session

Cecil the Lion

The League of Humane Voters of New York is holding a legislative breakfast Wednesday, March 22 to promote its legislative agenda, which includes passing bills to outlaw killing competitions, create a public “animal abuser” registry and ban circuses that do not comply with animal welfare laws.

The group is also pushing for bills that would standardize how and when dogs can be tethered outside, ban elephants in entertainment acts and prohibit the import, possession, sale or transportation of the “Big Five” African species — elephants, lions, leopards and black or white rhinos.

The legislative breakfast will take place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in room 211 of the Legislative Office Building.

One of the group’s priorities this session is Cecil’s Law (S.1883/A.4010), which was first introduced after a tragic story made headlines around the world in 2015.

Cecil was a well-known lion in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, Africa. He and other lions in the pride were part of an ongoing study by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University. Cecil wore a GPS collar, which allowed the scientists to track, study and observe him. Cecil had become somewhat of a celebrity because he often allowed tourists and scientists to come within a few feet of him.

Cecil was lured from the protected national park by an American dentist and was killed in July 2015, which made headlines around the world and highlighted the need to protect lions and other large African animals threatened with extinction.

The “Big Five African Species” are threatened by extinction because of their continued import, possession, sale and transportation, say groups who are advocating for Cecil’s law. The League of Humane Voters and other animal rights groups say if the current rate of poaching continues, all five of these species will become extinct.

Cecil’s Law is sponsored by Senator Tony Avella and Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda in the New York State Legislature.