Tuesday, August 10, 2021

By Brad Pyle

A few weeks ago, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams won the New York City Democratic Mayoral primary race. With an easy path to victory in the general election, and as the top official in America’s most populous city, Adams will be one of the most influential politicians in America. As it happens, New York is home to many animal protection advocates and has long been at the forefront of the animal protection movement. So has Adams, and he has a record to prove it—one that animal protection advocates around the country can celebrate.

Today, based on his record, we announced our endorsement of Eric Adams for election as New York City’s next mayor and we ask all our supporters to join us.

As Borough President, Adams spoke out against the use of elephants in circuses. Adams met with the owners of multiple circuses, including Ringling Bros. and UniverSoul, to advocate against the use of wild animals in their acts, saying in a statement that he would “seek out and support common-sense measures that advance the well-being of Brooklynites, whether they walk on two legs or four.”

Adams also opposed the city-funded slaughter of geese in New York’s Prospect Park, carried out by the USDA. The killing of hundreds of waterfowl drew the ire of animal advocates and city residents, many of whom joined Adams at rallies—successfully pressuring the city to end the practice. “Geese do not need to adjust to us,” Adams observed, “we have to adjust to them.”

In 2019, when the New York City Council was considering a ban on the storing, maintaining or selling of foie gras in the city, Adams submitted testimony in support, citing animal welfare as a primary concern. To produce foie gras, workers force-feed ducks and geese—causing their livers to swell to up to 10 times their normal size. The ban New York City adopted will go into effect in 2022, a significant win for animal protection.

Companion animals have also benefited from Adams’ support. He has hosted adoption events and animal rescue summits, encouraged pet-friendly housing policies, supported trap-neuter-release programs for feral cats across Brooklyn and advocated for tax credits for pet adoptions.

As a state senator, Adams provided key support for extending a moratorium on the licensing of new live animal slaughter markets located within 1,500 feet of residential dwellings in all boroughs.

Locally, he advocated for the removal of animal dissection and hatching projects from NYC schools and replacing these with humane alternatives. On the national level, Adams strongly advocated for the Farm System Reform Act, encouraging members of Brooklyn’s congressional delegation to support it.

Finally, Adams follows a plant-based diet and promotes its benefits to others with a website page devoted to resources for plant-based nutrition. He advocated for the observation of Meatless Mondays and the introduction of non-dairy alternatives in schools, hospitals, and jails. He’s also pressed New York City to consider the centrality of food to its climate goals and to commit itself to a more sustainable and equitable food system.

In a country in which too many elected officials remain neutral, indifferent, or hostile to our work, there’s Eric Adams. He’s the epitome of what we’re trying to achieve, a world in which those entrusted to carry out the public’s will and ensure the public’s good include animals in their understanding of such duties. Sometimes, they will be Democrats, sometimes they will be Republicans and sometimes they will be independent or third-party candidates. But in all cases, they will be strong champions of public policies to protect animals, and they will make it clear in word and deed. As Adams’ career demonstrates, politicians at every level can play an important role in advancing the cause of animal welfare, and their continuing electoral success will make a world of difference for animals and for human society. That’s why the Humane Society Legislative Fund continues to encourage every elected official to take up our cause and to replace those who do not. The world we’re trying to build is one in which politicians understand the desire of the public to see animals protected, and do something about it, in their daily pursuit of the public good.

Brad Pyle is political director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.