The Oakland City Council has voted to ban bullhooks from late 2017 with a 5-2 vote thanks to months of nation-wide campaigning from animal welfare organizations.
“Thanks to the Oakland City Council, elephants in Oakland will be protected from weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end,” said PETA spokesman David Perle. “PETA looks forward to seeing more cities across the country follow Oakland’s compassionate and progressive example.”
Oakland now joins Los Angeles, who banned the weapon on October last year.
Bullhooks —rods with sharp hooks on the end— are used to beat and jab elephants in their sensitive areas, such as the ears and mouth and areas where their skin is thin, to try and ‘break’ them and get them to do silly tricks to escape the pain.
Ringling Bros. spokespeople argue that complaints about the use of bullhooks are misinformed and that the animals are not hurt or abused. Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, which operates Ringling Bros., said they might try to get the law revoked before it takes effect.
Learn more about Ringling Bros. Circus cruelty here.
Watch Ringling Bros. trainer strike an elephant named Tonka with a bullhook. Moments later, a bloody wound the size of a quarter can be seen behind Tonka’s left earflap. PETA