It’s unanimous. Oakland has had it with circuses clowning around with animals’ health and welfare. Last night, the Oakland City Council unanimously approved the Ordinance Establishing Additional Regulations on Circuses. This ordinance gives the city greater oversight of traveling animal acts and tightens the requirements for a circus to get a permit to perform.
This is an important step in the right direction, especially because the ordinance also requires that the city next consider following the lead of Los Angeles by adopting a ban on violent control devices, including sharp fireplace poker–like bullhooks that are used to strike, jab, and beat elephants on the most sensitive parts of their bodies.
Banning bullhooks, as the Oakland Zoo did decades ago, is the only way to ensure that elephants are not subjected to cruel physical punishment in traveling acts. And of course, the only way to ensure that animals don’t suffer any of the physical and mental detriments of captivity is to ban the use of animals by circuses altogether and retire the animals to sanctuaries.
Kudos to Oakland, and we look forward to seeing the city’s next move.