ANIMAL EXTREMISM – NOT A PARTISAN PLATFORM
Many in agriculture, in fact, in the entire country, believe that animal extremism is phenomenon aligned solely with those whose political beliefs tend to strongly lean to the liberal agenda. While much of the animal extremist-based ordinances and legislation are presented by very liberal leaning groups, there are those who are on the conservative side who also have been heavily influenced by animal extremist groups via disinformation, campaign contributions, and the promise of easy publicity. According to the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) “Humane Scorecard,” in 2020 there were at least 9 Republican U.S senators and representatives that score 89 or higher, which means they are considered pro-animal legislation.
Mayoral Candidate in New York City – A Sucker for the Spotligh
One such conservative animal extremist is the Republican party candidate for mayor in New York City, Curtis Sliwa. For those outside of New York City, his name might not be known, but he is well known locally. The group he founded in the 1970’s, the Guardian Angels, has quite a colorful history.
Sliwa started the Guardian Angels when NYC had a high crime rate in the 70’s. During that time it was dangerous for people to walk in the streets or ride the subways. The Guardian Angels wore red berets and walked the streets in groups and over time won the support of several New York City mayors. The Guardian Angels offered a visible sign of reassurance for frightened citizens.
Sliwa liked the spotlight and he has admitted that several Guardian Angel exploits were fabricated. At one point, Sliwa said that four Transit Authority police officers kidnapped and held him for four hours. In 1981, Washington Post’s Joyce Wadler said Sliwa is “the only gang leader in the country with a publicist.”
Sliwa did, in fact, survive an assassination attempt, reportedly ordered by John Gotti’s son, when he entered a stolen taxi. He was shot five times in the thigh and lower abdomen and escaped by catapulting himself out of the passenger side window.
Animal Extremism Platform – Attacks Against Carriage Horses
There is a big push from animal extremist groups to elect like-minded candidates. In a Gotham Gazette article by Zelda Penzel, she states:
“Animal Rights is the emerging social justice movement of the 21st century, as consciousness about animal sentience and the impact of animal agriculture on global climate change are raised, and justice and compassion take precedence over cruelty, indifference, and greed. Anyone running for the second most important job in the United States- Mayor of New York City- must pay close attention to animal rights.”
Sliwa supports banning Central Park’s carriage horse industry. Like Mayor DeBalsio, Sliwa wants to replace them with electric carriages. According to a Politico Magazine article from October 20, 2021, Sliwa states he would “absolutely” ban the ‘barbaric” horse-drawn carriage industry from Central Park. Even though he is adamantly opposed to the carriage horse industry, it did not win Sliwa endorsement by the animal extremist group NYCLASS. NYCLASS is an animal extremist group which seems as if its sole purpose is to eliminate the carriage horse industry in order to further the agenda of their sponsor. In a New York Post article dated August 22, 2021, NYCLASS stated: “While Curtis Sliwa attended today’s protest, NYCLASS is NOT endorsing his candidacy or his agenda”.
His opponent, Eric Adams did respond to an animal issues questionnaire by NYCLASS, but Sliwa did not.
Sliwa Wants to Close the Bronx Zoo and Animal Exhibitions
Sliwa has also “opened the door” to phasing out the Bronx Zoo. In an article dated October 13, 2021, from the New York Daily News, Sliwa suggested that phasing out zoos should be viewed as a serious consideration and if elected, he would consult with experts and animal welfare specialists to determine whether to move forward with it in New York City. He was quoted as saying “I certainly think in a lot of instances we’ve gotta be phasing out these zoos- definitely the circuses and rodeos and all that because of the barbaric behavior, the inhumane behavior towards animals.” While Sliwa conceded he’s no expert in the matter, he’d look at the issue on a “case-by-case” basis if elected mayor.
The Bronx Zoo is arguably one of New York City’s most iconic attractions and one of the largest metropolitan zoos in the United States. It opened in 1899 and began a legacy of animal welfare and conservation when it created the first zoo hospital in 1916. There is even an Animal Planet series called “The Zoo.” This show introduces viewers to the different animals. It teaches viewers about the medical treatments the animals receive, and the training that goes into teaching wild animals which allows for stress free handling and treatment. It also highlights how the zoo fosters orphans, and how they use some of those orphans as educational ambassadors to scores of school children. The show stresses the need for conservation and how zoos and aquariums teach conservation through their educational programs. These are programs that simply would not exist if the zoos were closed.
The Bronx Zoo also is the largest employer of teens in the Bronx borough, hiring 1,200-1,500 part time employees each season. The director of the Bronx Zoo and executive vice president of zoos and aquariums for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Jim Breheny, is an alum of the Bronx Zoo’s youth program.
Sliwa Weighed in On the Habeas Corpus Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Happy the Elephant
Sliwa raised the topic after fielding a question on whether Happy the Elephant should be freed from the Bronx Zoo where she has lived for 44 of her 50 years. He stated that he “hadn’t given much thought to Happy, but after visiting the elephant section of the zoo with his sons,” he began to wonder if zoos were the “most humane way of keeping animals.” He further stated “I think I am maturing with this. I’m becoming more educated on this field. I don’t think it serves a lot of these animals well to be housed in zoos.”
Aligning with Animal Extremist Groups is Often Used as a Political Tactic
Democrat Eric Adams is projected to win the mayor’s seat easily, which makes sense in a primarily Democrat city.
Sliwa is emphasizing his unofficial crime-fighting job and as being tough on crime; Eric Adams is a retired NYPD officer. Sliwa also is highly critical of Black Lives Matter and is endorsing the hiring of 3000 more police officers.
However, Sliwa believes his latest incarnation as an animal rights advocate will be his secret weapon in the mayoral race. He regularly boasts that he and his fourth wife live in a studio apartment in the Upper West Side with 15 rescue cats. Sliwa won the Republican party ticket in the primary, so he’s running as a Republican. He’s also running as an Independent and under the Animal Welfare Party. The latter is to try to swing moderate Democrat votes his way.
Where is Sliwa Getting His Information?
There is no question that animals in accredited zoos and animal exhibitions are treated very well. They have all of their needs met daily, from the basic needs of food and water, to immediate veterinary care, environmental enrichment, and trained keepers who know the animals and who the animals know.
The question must be asked of this candidate: Who are you being educated by? Are you learning from animal extremist groups or are you discussing these issues with scientists, conservationists, animal behaviorists specializing in wild animals, or veterinarians specializing in zoo animals?
Do New Yorkers Want a Mayor in Office Who Subscribes to Animal Extremist Ideology?
Since Sliwa has previously admitted that he fabricated crises for attention, is his new platform affirming animal extremism simply another move he believes will garner some attention and votes?
No matter the answer, do New Yorkers, so many of whom have pets, want an animal extremist running their city when the ideology of animal extremism is to remove all animals from human care?
For additional information about New York City Carriage horses and the background story we highly recommend the documentary movie, “The Last Horsemen of New York” . You can watch it on Amazon HERE