Miami Beach Mayor Wins Award for Banning Bullhooks Used on Elephants

ARFF, PETA Team Up to Thank Philip Levine for Ensuring That Animals Will Not Be Beaten or Whipped in His City

For Immediate Release:
May 29, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Miami Beach, Fla. – Bullhooks are weapons with a sharp metal hook on one end, and if you’ve been to a circus that uses elephants, chances are roughly 100 percent that you’ve seen one. But you won’t see one again in the city of Miami Beach. That’s because Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and the city commission have passed a law banning bullhooks and other inhumane devices designed to force animals to submit to trainers’ commands and perform difficult—and often painful—tricks. Now, the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF), which helped bring about the progressive law, and PETA are sending Levine, who sponsored the ordinance, a Compassionate Mayor Award for his landmark efforts to save animals used in circuses from pain.

“In the circus, bullhooks, whips, and electric prods have one purpose: to hurt elephants, tigers, and other animals and force them to perform tricks out of fear of punishment,” says ARFF President Nanci Alexander. “By banning these cruel devices, Miami Beach has sent a clear message that it welcomes entertainment but not at the expense of animals’ suffering.”

Handlers armed with bullhooks have been present at past events in Miami Beach—including elephant walks sponsored by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and local restaurant events that have used elephants. Also banned are whips and electric-shock devices.

Miami Beach has joined Hallandale Beach, Margate, and Pompano Beach, Fla., which have also banned bullhooks. See video footage of bullhook abuse here.

Levine will receive a framed certificate, which can be seen here.

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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