In two unanimous votes, the Minneapolis City Council in Minnesota has prohibited the use of bullhooks on elephants in circuses and traveling shows, and the Cambridge City Council in Massachusetts has banned circuses that exploit exotic animals.
Bullhooks—heavy batons with a sharp metal hook on one end—are used to beat and jab elephants. Elephants live in fear of these weapons and quickly learn to obey or suffer the painful consequences. In addition to being struck with bullhooks, animals who are forced to perform in circuses live in cages or trailers for up to 50 weeks a year while they are being hauled from city to city and are often forced to perform in spite of painful foot problems and other ailments.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which shamelessly defends the use of bullhooks, cited animal-protection legislation as one of the reasons it is eliminating elephant acts. Other circuses continue to force elephants to perform, and such bans may encourage them to follow Ringling’s example. Among many other cities, Los Angeles and Oakland, California; Austin, Texas; Richmond, Virginia; and Miami Beach, Florida, have all said no to bullhooks. Others, including Asheville, North Carolina, have said no to animal circuses entirely.
What You Can Do
Contact us for materials for launching a campaign to get bullhooks or circuses that abuse animals banned in your area.