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Queens lawmaker introduces legislation prohibiting use of psychoactive drugs to force zoo animals to procreate

Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas. (Photo by Kisha Bari)

Jackson Heights Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas and Brooklyn state Sen. Jabari Brisport recently introduced Johari’s Law, a new law that would make the use of psychoactive drugs to force animals to have sex illegal.

This bill was introduced in response to a New York Times article that outlines how zoos use psychoactive drugs to manage animals in captivity. The article uncovered details of a female gorilla named Johari who would fight off the male she was placed with to procreate. The zoo then dosed her with Prozac until she surrendered to the male. 

The legislators wanted to create a law that would protect animals like Johari and prevent facilitated sexual violence with drugs meant to treat mental health illnesses. 

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

Brisport said animals should be protected just as humans are from forced sex with the use of drugs. The bill is also supported by animal rights groups like the Voters for Animal Rights, Last Chance for Animals and Four Paws.

“The fact that zoos are drugging animals in order to breed them demonstrates just how abusive these archaic institutions are both physically and psychologically for non-human animals,” said Matthew Dominguez, a political adviser for Voters for Animal Rights.

The bill is currently in committee before it gets voted on by the state Senate and Assembly. If the bill passes and is signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, it will go into effect immediately. 

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