TODAY, Wednesday 23rd, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an ordinance banning the use of bullhooks on circus elephants.
“(Elephants) are trained and guided with bullhooks, which are used to inflict pain upon them and sometimes cut them when they’re hit,” said Councilman Paul Koretz. “We really want to change that. We think it’s a very cruel practice.” Of course, the ban on bullhooks means that circuses, traveling shows and other events that feature elephants would not be able to perform anywhere in the city, because the bullhook is how the handlers maintain control. A spokesman for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, says the ban was being driven by animal rights activists who want to force the circus out of the city.
UNFORTUNATELY, the ban allows for a three-year phase-in period — some of which will no doubt be used by the circuses trying to find a replacement for the bullhook. Presciently, the ban already includes baseball bats, axe handles and pitchforks. No mention of electric cattle prods, though.