Heard Around Town

Guinea pig sales banned in NYC

Pet stores will be banned from selling the rodents, in the latest win for animal rights activists.

Guinea pigs aren't the first animals to be banned from New York pet stores.

Guinea pigs aren't the first animals to be banned from New York pet stores. public domain

Selling guinea pigs won’t fly. The New York City Council is expected to pass Council Member Diana Ayala’s bill Tuesday banning the sale of the rodents at all of the city’s pet shops, due to overpopulation concerns. (Does Mayor Eric Adams need to appoint a Guinea Pig Czar too?) New Yorkers can still adopt guinea pigs from shelters, however – or, for a different taste, order them as cuy on some menus in Queens.

Guinea pigs weren’t the guinea pigs – er, the test subjects – when it came to regulation of pet stores’ sales. The council banned the sale of pet rabbits back in 2014, and classic pet stores’ days may be numbered – the state banned them from selling dogs and cats too, starting in 2024. State Sen. Monica Martinez is thinking bigger, and introduced a bill this month to ban New Yorkers from keeping pet kangaroos, ostriches, zebras and sloths.

But it’s not about size to Voters for Animal Rights President Allie Feldman Taylor. “Protecting guinea pigs might seem like a ‘small’ issue but it means the world to these animals who have been treated like commodities – bought and sold, dumped and abandoned,” she said in a written statement. "This legislation is yet another example of the profound importance of animal protection to New Yorkers and is a meaningful step forward which will also have a direct positive impact for our city’s shelters and network of rescuers.”

Why all this animal action? It’s good politics, of course, but to some politicians, it’s personal. “I am formally a supporter of the legislation, because they’re cute,” New York City Council Member Pierina Sanchez said of the guinea pig ban.