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Commission to National Elephant Center: No Bullhooks Allowed
For Immediate Release:
January 27, 2010
Lisa Wathne 757-622-7382
Fort Pierce, Fla. -- For unanimously approving a project to build a National Elephant Center (NEC) on the condition that no bullhooks--a boathook-like weapon that is used to jab elephants so that they obey commands--are allowed, the members of the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners will jointly receive a Compassionate Legislator Award from PETA, In Defense of Animals, the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, and United for Animals. At their January 26 meeting, the commissioners also limited the number of elephants permitted at the NEC to 10 in order to allow the animals more space, and they encouraged the center to form an animal welfare advisory board. Each commissioner will receive a framed certificate and a letter of appreciation.
"You'll see cruel bullhooks at a circus, but the National Elephant Center should have never, ever considered allowing them within a mile of its facility," says PETA Director Debbie Leahy. "With their compassionate vote, the St. Lucie County commissioners have spared these animals untold pain and fear."
Bullhooks are used to punish and control elephants. The device's handle is made of wood, metal, plastic, or fiberglass, and it has a sharp steel hook at one end. Its shape is similar to that of a boathook or fireplace poker. Trainers and handlers use the hook to gouge an elephant in the most sensitive parts of the animal's body. Yanking or pulling on the handle forces the hook deeper into the animal's flesh. Bullhooks cause puncture wounds, lacerations, abscesses, and other trauma to elephants' skin.
The main concern of the organizations that presented the award was the NEC's intention to allow the use of bullhooks even though more than half the accredited zoos in the U.S. have stopped using them. The use of bullhooks would contradict the NEC's claim that it is a "new model in excellence" when it comes to providing elephant care.
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.