Proposed Changes to ‘Dangerous Wild Animals’ List Garners PETA Support

Group's Comments Outline Dangers Posed by Commercial Animal Exhibitors, Owners of Exotic 'Pets'

For Immediate Release:
November 18, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Albany, N.Y. – PETA has submitted formal comments to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) in support of the proposed amendments to the state’s regulations on dangerous wild animals.

Currently, New York state identifies only lions, raccoon dogs, and animals who look like wolves or coyotes as dangerous. But as PETA outlines in its comments, dozens of injuries and deaths have stemmed from incidents involving big cats, bears, primates, elephants, and other animals. The group supports expanding the prohibition on the private possession of dangerous wild animals to include these species and recommends more stringent regulation of their commercial exhibition as well as a strict prohibition on direct contact with dangerous wild animals—such as during the exhibition of bears, tiger cubs, and other animals on late-night talk shows.

“Countless people in New York and across the country have been injured or even killed by wild animals who aren’t currently considered ‘dangerous’ under state law,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Brittany Peet. “PETA supports New York’s effort to protect animals and the public by restricting the possession of bears, tigers, elephants, and other animals who belong in the wild or at reputable facilities—not in traveling shows or private homes.”

Among other incidents involving wild animals not currently defined as “dangerous” under New York law, a woman in Buffalo was bitten by her 2-foot-long ball python in 2017, a “pet” capuchin monkey escaped and attacked a woman in Oneida Castle in 2010, and in the same year, a 7-year-old boy was bitten by a lemur at the Ashville Game Farm. A NYSDEC investigation into that incident led to the owner of the facility being arrested on a 29-count indictment.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind