The GOP’s New York City mayoral candidate, Curtis Sliwa, said Wednesday that he believes the Bronx Zoo, one of America’s biggest wildlife attractions, should be closed due to concerns over animal welfare.
The zoo is one of the city’s biggest attractions and is the largest urban zoo in the United States, containing more than 4,000 different animals.
in an interview with New York Daily News, Sliwa said he believes zoos should be “phased out” and will consider closing the Bronx Zoo and a number of other zoos in New York if elected mayor.
The decision on whether to permanently close the zoo will be made after consultations with animal welfare experts and wildlife experts to determine the best outcome for the animals.
“I definitely think we should phase out these zoos in many cases – definitely circuses and rodeos and it’s all because of barbaric behavior, inhumane treatment of animals,” said Sliwa. “We will eventually need to start phasing out zoos or at least some of the animals housed in zoos.”
Sliwa, a self-identified animal lover and radio personality who reportedly owns 17 cats, Daily News He said he would look at each zoo in New York individually.
“I remember going to Prospect Park and the Central Park Zoo as a young kid and being amazed by everything, but I heard how it caused a lot of problems for the animals,” Sliwa said.
“I don’t think it’s a good thing to have most of these animals in zoos,” he continued.
Since opening in 1899, the Bronx Zoo has been mired in a series of controversies.
The zoo was recently sued for its treatment, arguing that the happy elephant has a constitutional right. Zoo officials stated that Happy was completely satisfied with his living conditions.
The zoo has apologized for past historic displays of racism, including the incarceration of a Congolese man named Ota Benga in a monkey habitat in the early 1900s.
Although Sliwa has indicated that he wants to change the culture of animal habitats in New York, recent surveys suggest he has little chance.
While Sliwa has become one of the most high-profile mayoral candidates as a Republican, he is seen as a long-term candidate against Democratic candidate and Brooklyn borough chairman Eric Adams. Four of New York City’s last six mayors democrats going back to 1974, including the current mayor Bill de Blasio.