Skip to Main Content

Update: Atlanta Guts Bullhook Ban

Written by PETA | June 19, 2012

Update: The Atlanta City Council voted to prevent the use of bullhooks but only when it can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they were used in a specific instance to “discipline” an elephant and that the elephant’s skin was broken, scarred, or otherwise damaged as a result. This is a step backward from Fulton County’s outright ban on the use of bullhooks. This ordinance will not protect elephants because enforcing it would require that someone not only be there to witness the abuse, but be close enough to see the actual damage to the elephant’s skin. The bullhook would have to break the skin, something a blunt object which causes pain does not always do. Obviously Ringling hides its abusive “training and handling” from public view, hooks elephants in places people can’t typically see such as under the chin and behind the ears, and uses gray Wonder Dust to stop bleeding quickly and conceal wounds. And, broken bones and forming bruises can’t always be seen with the naked eye. Only a ban on the use of bullhooks can protect elephants from bullhook abuse. Councilmembers Felicia Moore and Natalyn Archibong introduced a total bullhook ban at the end of Monday’s City Council meeting. It will go to the Public Safety Committee for review before the council can vote on it.

You may recall that last summer Fulton County, Georgia, became the largest municipality in the U.S. to ban the use of bullhooks—rods with a sharp metal hook and point on the end that are used to strike, jab, hook, prod, and beat elephants on the most sensitive parts of their bodies.

Then this February, because Ringling Bros. can’t force elephants to perform unnatural and often painful circus tricks without this torture device and because the circus refuses to get with the times and join the numerous circuses that don’t use elephants, Ringling sued Fulton County to challenge enforcement of the ban. That lawsuit is ongoing, but in the meantime, Ringling is pressuring the city of Atlanta to make sure that the bullhook ban is not enforceable within city limits.

On Monday, the Atlanta City Council faces a very important decision—it will decide whether or not to allow the use of cruel bullhooks in the city. While some councilmembers support a ban, others are on the fence and are facing tremendous pressure from the mayor and companies such as Ringling Bros. that make millions off elephant abuse. But the councilmembers are subject to public pressure as well, and every e-mail that they receive adds to that pressure.         

Indeed, the councilmembers have made it clear that being contacted by the public would be the most influential factor in persuading them to ban bullhooks. And that’s where we need your help for the elephants! Please take a moment to urge the City Council to do the right thing and put an end to elephant abuse in the city of Atlanta. Please be sure to note any ties that you have to Atlanta.

Commenting is closed.
  • minerva says:

    I refuse to go to circuses that use animals and when I hear about centers near me that are going to allow the ringling circus to perform there I call that center and tell them that I and my family and friends will no longer frequent their center and I tell them why. The way to stop this circus is to hit them in the pocket book. So we need to educate people about what goes on in these circuses that use animals and to encourage them NOT to attend. When these circuses stop using animals we also need to find good safe permanent homes for these poor animals.

  • Leslie Farnsworth says:

    How are these people not being charged with animal cruelty??? And it’s totally in the open and public?? What more evidence do people need to send these idiots to jail and a lifetime ban on owning or using an animal?? It’s disgusting how these people get away with such abuse and the worst part is, everyone who goes to a circus KNOWS that the animals are being poked and prodded, and it happens right in front of their eyes!! It truly is revolting how some people treat innocent animals within the circus and outside the circus.

  • Mimi says:

    Look at the end of what is on this stick, a HOOK! The Atlanta City Council does not understand and it is obvious they don’t care. It will come to the point where an elephants spirit breaks because of the pain, goes on a rampage ends up causing injury to civilians, which we know this has happened many times before, then the council may think, maybe we made a bad decision! If the council really is concerned why not let them test the hook on themselves first then they will realize it’s a HOOK, it HURTS. Did they not see the videos and read vet reports about Ringling’s Bullhook abuse?

  • Erin Hansen says:

    I have written to my local newspapers, television stations, and entertainment venues, Knickerbocker Arena, or Pepsi Area in Albany, New York explaining to these idiots why exactly and what the problem is with the circus. How more clear can I be? Thanks PETA for all you do and hanging in there. Intolerable, to say the least. Welcome aboard, Jack Taylor and girlfriend Melanie.

  • Tory says:

    People have a hard time understanding that bullhooks hurt and they tend to believe the carnies’ lies that they are guides. I believe activists are going after the wrong instrument. Now the carnies know people look at what they do with the bullhooks so their abuse is even more hidden. However they now carry tazers which are easy for the public to understand that the delivery of 1 million volts IS abusive. We should be going after the tazers which are easily hidden the the carnies hands.

  • Pakize says:

    DO NOT allow the use of bullhooks on elephants. Circuses should be banned all together. These innocent animals are being forced to do unnatural things. How would you like it if you were taken away from your mother and forced to learn skills that were painful and unnatural!? We need to start respecting animals. We are all connected.

  • Linda Ann Gray says:

    Please do not allow the cruel use of bullhooks on circus elephants.

  • Alejandra says:

    please do. not continue hurting these innocent beings. have all contributed to make them suffer, and this is where you can tell the quality of humanity that we have. cause pain is not human:(

  • Andrea Thompson says:

    Please don’t allow the cruel use of bullhooks on circus elephants. All you have to do is watch some videos – theyare amazing animals & don”t deserve such treatment – shouldn’t even have to perform in circuses.