Bob Barker Calls for Vote on Elephant-Protection Bill

As Circus Leaves Newport, TV Icon Joins PETA in Urging State Speaker of the House to Allow Legislators to Vote on Bullhook Ban

For Immediate Release:
June 24, 2013

Wendy Wegner 202-483-7382

Providence—Hot on the heels of the controversy surrounding the Cole Bros. Circus—which was in Rhode Island over the weekend and is notorious for racking up fines and citations for its treatment of elephants and for partnering with an exhibitor with a record of beating and neglecting elephants—TV icon Bob Barker is making an appeal on PETA’s behalf to Rhode Island Speaker of the House Gordon Fox urging him to allow Rhode Island’s proposed ban on bullhooks to come to a vote.

As Barker explained in a personal phone message and in a letter sent this morning, the proposed bill, House Bill 5853, would prohibit bullhooks—weapons resembling fireplace pokers that circuses use to beat and intimidate elephants—as well as chaining elephants for extended periods. Chaining is a routine circus practice that leads to serious foot problems and painful arthritis—the leading reasons why captive elephants are euthanized.

“Nothing—and certainly not a few minutes of entertainment—justifies abusing these extremely sensitive, intelligent, and majestic animals with painful bullhooks, which leave puncture wounds and scarring. Nor is there any justification for chaining them for hours, even days,” writes Barker. “It’s time we stop tolerating such abysmally cruel practices in the circus.”

Barker isn’t the first prominent person to speak in favor of this proposed legislation: In May, Rhode Island native Viola Davis sent an appeal to state legislators.

Bob Barker’s letter to House Speaker Gordon Fox is available here. For more information, please visit or click here.


For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind