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Victory! St. Lucie County Says ‘No Bullhooks Allowed’ at Proposed Elephant Center

Written by PETA | January 27, 2010

Great news! Thanks to pressure from PETA and kind readers who took action, the St. Lucie County Commission has voted unanimously to ban bullhooks from the proposed National Elephant Center (NEC).


elephant-photos / CC


A coalition of zoos plans to use the NEC to breed and temporarily house elephants from zoos that are making meager renovations to cramped urban zoo exhibits, so of course PETA has some serious concerns about the project, since intelligent, social elephants suffer and die prematurely in lonely, inadequate zoo enclosures. But PETA’s biggest worry was the intended use of circus-style training, so we’re thrilled that the NEC won’t be allowed to use “bullhooks“—a weapon resembling a fireplace poker that trainers wield to strike, stab, hook, prod, and intimidate elephants in order to make them obey. By responding to PETA’s call to ban bullhooks, the St. Lucie County Commission is taking a big step forward in making the lives of these social, intelligent, and complex animals a little bit nicer.

While the NEC will be bullhook-free, many of the zoos behind its creation—including the Oregon Zoo, Columbus Zoo, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom—continue to use this outdated method for “managing” elephants and have a cozy relationship with Ringling Bros., whose trainers subject baby elephants to violent training with bullhooks. In fact, Ringling had announced that it was interested in moving some of its elephants to the NEC. Please join PETA’s Action Team to get updates on ways to take action for animals.

Written by Logan Scherer

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  • Vaninha says:

    I think all animals should /must be respected and elephants are just so special, how can anyone ever do wrong to any kind of animals… I am pro the people that do all efforts to protect animals from aggression of any kind. Is bad enough people are bad to each other now to animals is just nonsense and unforgivable, animals and people deserve peace and kindness. If those animals were to turn against them and maybe kill them would have been all over the news : oh the crazy elephant but because is elephants being treated like that is only on Peta’s website:@

  • Debbie says:

    The people doing these bad things to animals any animals have no heart and soul. They treat them as if they are not living beings. I have a pet rat and it is like a small dog. I read some have made movies of a woman stepping on rats with stiletto heels to kill them. There must be some really deranged people in the world. My Daisii is one of the sweetest things I have ever known. She loves me very much.

  • Panthera says:

    elephants should not be kept in confined spaces period!

  • Ruth says:

    So happy to hear something is being done to save these animals. We need to get together and help them. RuthD

  • Gina Caceres says:

    i dont understand people at all when they can just do this stuff to these poor animals. They need to be put on bullhooks for all the things they do to these wonderful creatures.

  • Liza says:

    I am appualed and shocked at what i just saw on the previous website. it is absolutely disgusting. The only solution here is that no one should go to these evil peoples shows. i live in Ireland were i have gone to 2 Circus’s in the past year and they both DID NOT have animals in the show it was refreshing. i am very surprised that America still allows animals to be used in this way. Also i commend Peta for their tireless efforts in the name of animals and wish people would stop turning a blind eye to cruelity. the laziness of people maddens me. If we all took a stand we could stop this!!!!!!!!! I have seen photos of stupid poeple enjoying these shows in Thailand were poor poor elephants are forced to do head stands on their trunks and poeple enjoy this.. All i ask is would you enjoy balancing on your nose while being beaten with a hook? No its not an entertaining thought!!!!!!!

  • Kathryn Baker says:

    Bravo PETA! PETA gets the word out and gets results. I support PETA in the fine work it does. That baby elephant is indeed one of the sweetest baby photos that I have ever seen. Keep up your wonderful work PETA.

  • Erika says:

    Who could ever stab that cute little baby elephant with a bullhook! Its sooo cute KAWAII 3

  • Chloe says:

    Good news! But it kinda worries me that not enough people are responding to PETA. What have done to this world?!

  • Lisa says:

    I’ll be honest I’m not a vegetarian nor a vegan. I don’t wear fur but I still believe in ethical treatment of animals. Elephants have always been my favorite animals they’re majestic creatures. I attended the circus for years not considering what they do to those poor pachyderms. Now I’m glad to see that somebody has made some headway with exposing the truth.

  • Ciara (PETA LOVER) says:

    Your soo cool PETA! im buying some of your clothes! i love you soo much you inspired me to be a vegetarian 33 ! keep up the good work! and the haters are jealous so never mind them!

  • sammi says:

    PETA you do an amazing job! the elephants will be happier now! and what a cuuute picture! if the baby belonged to ringling it would have a nightmare of a life ahead of himher… I can’t understand how anyone can treat animals like that!

  • Veronica says:

    Excellent work PETA!!! One more step ahead in the right direction. The world is far from perfect however every step to make things right counts!

  • Lindsay Hollerman says:

    No bullhooks is just great but elephants are meant to be in the wild and not in any “elephant center” anyways.

  • Jill says:

    It’s great that no bullhooks are allowed but I thought we were trying to get them to not even open such a center. I mean really a breeding facility?

  • Kathy says:

    We must keep on fighting to right the wrongs.Disney especially should be boycotted and ashamed of their selves.

  • cheryl says:

    I so agree with you Emma!!! I am so sick of people thinking they can abuse these animals just because thy can’t speak for them selves doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings! They need people like PETA and us to speak for them and protect them. Just look at this little guy it brings tears to my eye’s to see him knowing what they go through how can anyone want to hurt him! I just want to hug him and give him a big fat kiss!!! Great job PETA!! keep up the great work!!

  • Miho Reed says:


  • Ralitsa says:

    PETA is number one with me!


    If only we could bring such enlightenment to other areas of animal welfare….well done peta well done…Thankk goodness this little guy will not end up in the hands of the Ringling Bros cruel trainers.

  • Marnie says:

    Look these feet…. cute picture. It’s time to treat elephants like they earn to be treated. Thank you so much for caring PETA !!!!!!!

  • kortatoo says:

    thanks for waiting

  • raichu says:

    I hope it is precedent setting!

  • Kristen says:

    This is awesome news! I am still heart broken after reading about how animals are treated when training for the circus and other outrageous stunts..we need to love these animals..not abuse them. Great job PETA!

  • md says:

    An important precedentsetting official recognition of the cruelty of bullhooks.

  • Rad_Rosa89 says:

    PETA will always be number one to me!!

  • CARLA says:


  • Kelley says:

    People can complain about PETA as much as they want but sometimes society needs to be FORCED to take the moral high road.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Another humane proactive and compassionate victory for animals due largely to PETA. PETA gets bashed because PETA rightfully makes the masses feel guility for their beastly mistreatment of our fellow animals and creatures of God.

  • susan says:

    That is one of the cutest babies I have ever seen! And that includes human ones.

  • emma says:

    Haters of peta can come on here and preach all they like but look what peta achieves this is bloody fantastic news how can someone look at that picture and then procede to hurt them and beat them its takes a true monster to do that. Peta you are truely the best it doesnt matter what you do to get the message across it works and its fantastic. I’d love to give that baby elephant a huge kiss and hug. Well done peta and well done everyone who contributed to this. xx p.s ringling please go ahead with moving some elephants to here it would be the most commendable thing you’ve done.