WXXI AM News

animal rights

This week, New York became the first state in the nation to ban the declawing of cats. Animal rights activists are celebrating the bill, which prohibits the amputation procedure unless the process will help treat a medical condition. It’s a win for groups that have fought the issue for years, and who are also calling for the end of horse racing. Thousands of horses in the U.S. have died from racing or training since 2014, and over a six-day span this month, four horses died at Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack.

This hour, we sit down with activists to understand the current state of animal rights in New York and the U.S., and what they would like to see in terms of a so-called "animal bill of rights." In studio:

  • Joel Helfrich, animal rights activist
  • Andrew Dunning, animal rights activist

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

There are four African elephants at the Seneca Park Zoo – Genny C, Lilac, Mochi, and Chana. Louis DiVincenti, the assistant zoo director for animal care and conservation, said they, like the other African animals at the park, are well-acclimated to Rochester's cold winters.  


The circus is shutting down for good in May. Ticket sales have been declining, especially since the circus buckled to public pressure to remove elephants from the show.

We have a conversation about what the future holds for animals in the spotlight -- from the circus, to zoos, to marine parks. And what do we know about how the animals respond to their work in captivity? Our guests:

  • Dr. Lawrence Torcello, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at RIT
  • Dr. Dawn Rager, associate professor in the Department of Psychology at St. John Fisher College