At Atlanta’s City Hall, B-52s singer Fred Schneider, surrounded by City Councilmember Felicia Moore and other PETA supporters, called on the City Council to pass a total ban on bullhooks. “How can we do this to elephants?” he asked. “I can’t imagine doing this to our cats, dogs, or other pets we love.” Moore commented that “Atlanta is better than this” and added that she and fellow Councilmember Natalyn Mosby Archibong will continue to push for the full ban.
Photo: Anna Ware
Photo: Anna Ware
The following was originally published on June 26th.
PETA has sent an urgent letter to the Atlanta City Council exhorting it to pass an ordinance proposed by Councilmembers Felicia Moore and Natalyn Archibong that would ban all bullhook use in the city. The new measure would strengthen recently passed legislation that is unenforceable and will do nothing to protect elephants used in circuses from abuse.
Excessive Burden of Proof
The ordinance passed on June 18 bans the use of bullhooks only when a witness comes forward to attest that they were used to “punish” or “discipline” an elephant and that the specific incident resulted in the elephant’s skin being observably broken, scarred, or otherwise damaged—an almost impossible task given that handlers commonly strike elephants in places that hide the wounds, such as behind the ears or under the chin.
Nor do all bullhook beatings break the skin, even when they cause serious injuries—and when they do cause bleeding, circuses apply a gray powder called “Wonder Dust” to cover up any wounds since it blends in with elephants’ skin.
Along with the letter, PETA sent videotapes showing several incidents in which elephants were beaten with bullhooks in California, which has a law that’s virtually identical to Atlanta’s. In none of these instances was the perpetrator prosecuted.
What You Can Do
California’s failed elephant-protection law proves that as long as circus elephant handlers have bullhooks, they’re going to beat elephants with them. Please join PETA in making it clear to the Atlanta City Council that a total ban on bullhooks is the only way to stop circuses from beating elephants. (Please keep all correspondence polite.)