Across the U.S., lawmakers are banning weapons called “bullhooks,” recognizing that their only purpose is to beat, punish, and control elephants. Bullhooks resemble fireplace pokers with a sharp hook on one end. Elephant trainers often sink the hook deep into elephants’ ears, mouths, and other sensitive body parts where their skin is the thinnest and swing these sharp weapons like baseball bats. Elephants learn to fear bullhooks at a very young age.
California is now the second state in the U.S.—after Rhode Island—to ban bullhooks. Once the ban goes into effect in 2018, circuses and traveling acts that use elephants will have to change or stay out of California. (And no zoos can use the weapons, either.) Because circuses rely on bullhooks to coerce elephants to perform stupid, confusing tricks like standing on their heads or balancing on balls, they’ll have no reason to haul elephants to the state.
This is a huge step toward ending cruelty to elephants, because as more cities and states across the country follow in the footsteps of California and Rhode Island, traveling circuses that use elephants will have a difficult time finding places where they can still get away with abusing them for profit.
What You Can Do
This is great news, but we still have a lot of work to do! Pledge never to go to ANY circus that uses animals and urge your friends and family to stay away, too. Remember: Every ticket purchased for a circus that uses animals directly supports their misery.
Contact us for materials for launching a campaign to get bullhooks banned in your area or for help organizing a circus protest.