A college course has led to the creation of a bill banning elephants from performing at the circus or shows within New York State borders.
“We got several emails from students that said they actually cried when they got the news,” said Pace University Professor John Cronin.
Eight of his own students wrote the bill, the Elephant Protection Act, that was passed by the New York State Senate 62-0.
"We had a team that researched the life history of the elephants; we had a team that researched other state laws around the country; we had a team that researched the treatment and training of elephants, and we had a team that worked with legislators that built support,” Cronin explained.
This included Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Sen. Terrance Murphy, who was the chief sponsor of the bill in the senate.
Cronin says it was at the start of the semester when his students decided to focus on the elephant.
"They are the largest mammal there is, and in order to control the mammal in a circus environment, they have to be tortured,” Cronin said. “A big elephant will not stand on its head because you say so. And they aren't going to march in line because you say, ‘March in line.’ They have to know there will be physical consequences, and there are dire physical consequences..."
Students created a 30-second video, depicting elephant abuse, to support the bill. Additionally, 1,100 Pace University students signed a petition in favor of the bill.
Cronin says the next step is to get the bill re-introduced in the New York General Assembly, something the students will continue to work on in August.