Giving psychoactive drugs to zoo animals may soon be illegal in New York

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A New York bill seeks to ban the practice of giving zoo animals psychoactive drugs over concerns about animal cruelty.

New York State Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas and vegan state senator Jabari Bisport introduced the bill.

The legislation, called Johari’s Law, was introduced in response to a New York Times article on drug use in zoos.

In the article, environmental writer Emma Marris explained that zoos use psychoactive drugs to better control animals in captivity. Marris wrote about Johari, a female gorilla who was placed with a male for the purpose of breeding them.

Johari continued to fight the male, so the zoo gave her Prozac until she finally surrendered.

Prozac is an antidepressant used to treat, among other things, major depressive disorder, bulimia nervosa and obsessive-compulsive disorder in men.

“Animals deserve our protection”

the New York Times article highlighted a survey that included US and Canadian zoos. He revealed that almost half of the 31 zoos surveyed gave their gorillas psychopharmaceutical drugs, such as Valium.

Zoos also administer psychoactive drugs to animals like polar bears, ostriches and monkeys.

“Reproduction is a natural process that should not be forced through the use of psychoactive drugs,” González-Rojas said. “Animals deserve our protection and this is especially the case for those in captivity in zoos.”

“What happened to Johari is state-sanctioned sexual violence on vulnerable animals who are harmed because of our capitalist desire to entertain people at the expense of other species,” she added.

Matthew Dominguez is policy advisor for Voters for Animal Rights. He said: “The fact that zoos drug animals to raise them shows how abusive these archaic institutions are both physically and psychologically to non-human animals.

“We applaud Senator Brisport and the Asm. González-Rojas for introducing this important bill that seeks to end the repugnant practice of drugging animals.

Alvin J. Chase