The Austin City Council has voted 10-1 to ban the use of bullhooks, and the ban will go into effect as of October 2016. Bullhooks—heavy batons with a sharp metal hook on one end—are used to beat elephants forced to perform in Ringling Bros. circuses and others.
Austin joins other progressive cities including Oakland, Los Angeles, Richmond and Miami Beach in passing the ban. Earlier this year, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus announced it would phase out elephant performances by 2018, though PETA has urged the company to end elephant acts immediately.
PETA’s official statement on the ban is as follows:
PETA thanks the Austin City Council for voting for the welfare of elephants by assuring that soon, in Austin, they will never again be threatened or struck with bullhooks—weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp hook. Austin now joins Los Angeles, Oakland, Richmond, and other cities across the U.S. in supporting an end to elephant abuse in the circus, and PETA looks forward to seeing more cities follow Austin’s compassionate and progressive example.