California Bullhook Ban Reaches Governor’s Desk

State’s legislators passed a bill to ban bullhooks used on elephants in circuses—now it’s up to Governor Jerry Brown to sign it.


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California could become the second state in the nation to outlaw the use of bullhooks by circuses and other travelling animal shows to control elephants. Both chambers of the state’s legislature and both parties overwhelmingly approved the bill, which is now on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, and he must sign it in order for it to become law. The bill’s author, Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara, said, “California’s commitment to the humane treatment of elephants is strengthened today. Banning bullhooks removes cruel and horrific treatment against these kind, gentle animals. I urge the Governor to sign this critical measure.” Last year, Brown vetoed a ban on bullhooks, which are sharp-hooked metal clubs that circus trainers use to control elephants by sticking them into sensitive areas of their skin. Nearly 60 jurisdictions and major cities such as Los Angeles, Oakland, and Minneapolis have already banned bullhooks, and last month Rhode Island became the first state to do so.