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Oakland Weighs Ban on Bull Hooks

November 26, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Lawmakers in Oakland, California, are considering a ban on bull hooks, a move that would prevent Ringling Bros. from bringing its circus elephants to that city. Bull hooks are weapons used to inflict pain on elephants in order to keep them submissive and obedient.

Four of eight Council Members in Oakland are poised to vote in favor of outlawing bull hooks. One member told the press, “We’re not going to look the other way when it comes to torturing animals.”

Circus elephants are tied down & assaulted with bull hooks at a young age

Circus elephants are tied down & assaulted with bull hooks at a young age

A spokesperson for Ringling, who describes bull hooks as “USDA-approved husbandry tools,” says that the circus cannot have elephants without them and will not come to Oakland at all if they cannot bring elephants, feeding into the concerns expressed by some Council Members about the economic impact of a ban.

Fear of bull hooks keeps elephants submissive (Photo: Amy Meyer)

Fear of bull hooks keeps elephants submissive (Photo: Amy Meyer)

In 2013, the Los Angeles City Council passed a law banning bull hooks that takes effect in 2017.  The lawmakers made their decision after viewing PETA’s undercover footage of Ringling trainers attacking elephants with bull hooks.

In addition to being beaten, elephants and other wild animals forced to perform in circuses, are deprived of the chance to do anything that comes naturally to them and are forced to travel in small boxcars on trains for days at a time while traveling between cities.

Ringling circus elephant in box car

Photo: PETA

The use of elephants in circuses has already been banned in Bolivia, Peru, Slovenia, Cyprus, Greece, Paraguay, Columbia, the Netherlands. A ban in the United Kingdom goes into effect in 2015.

Your Turn

If you live in Oakland or in San Francisco area, please see In Defense of Animal’s Action Center.

If you live elsewhere, please see five ways you can help end the use of animals in circuses.

Ringling Bros

Ringling Bros.

Comments via Facebook Comments

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  2. Yasmin Rivera says:


  3. deborah says:

    I never like the circus for that reason my children will never go

  4. Verna Brunet says:

    Bullhooks should be outlawed against all creatures.
    Circuses should be limited to human performers.
    Unpaid performers (animals) = slavery.

  5. Carol Dorn says:

    in all reality these elephants should not even be near the circus let alone in it! These people treat these animals! These elephants belong in Africa at least in a sanctuary ! These people are barbaric and they get away with it because these animals are so submissive! They wouldn’t hurt a soul…

  6. ricardo cattani says:

    This is coward and sad !

  7. Maureen Joubert says:


  8. Karen callen says:

    Please stop this barbaric process. These animals shouldn’t be terrified and tortured for entertainment.

  9. Deb Hart says:

    Ban animals from the circus, if circus people are talented they don’t need animals to make a living.

  10. kath says:

    Is there a petition I can sign to help stop this cruelty?

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