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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

Campaigners Rejoice As Barbaric Elephant Bullhooks Are Banned From California

Governor Jerry Brown Signs SB1062 Into Law, Protecting Elephants from Brutal Bullhook Abuse

Press Release – Sacramento, CA (August 30, 2016) – California-based international animal protection organization, In Defense of Animals, has welcomed new legislation to prohibit the use of brutal bullhooks to dominate and try to control elephants in California that has been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. The move follows a statewide ban on ivory sales that came into effect on July 1.

Senator Ricardo Lara, D Bell Gardens, set the legislative campaign for elephants in motion in 2015 when he introduced the first bullhook ban bill, and has now gained success with his second bill, S.B. 1062.

The new law states that as of January 1, 2018, captive elephants residing in, or passing through the state of California, will no longer be tormented, controlled, and dominated by the use of the cruel and archaic bullhook.

The bullhook or “ankus” is a steel rod resembling a sharpened fireplace poker. It is used to prod, hook and strike elephants, to dominate and try to control elephants through fear, pain and injury. This barbaric device is frequently used by circuses, elephant rides and some zoos.

“This new law is an important step in the protection of elephants,” said Dr. Marilyn Kroplick, President of In Defense of Animals. “We now know so much about these incredible animals and it is a great start to see states like California changing laws to better reflect our growing understanding. Elephants suffer greatly in zoos and traveling elephant performances, so please support sanctuaries and genuine conservation efforts to protect their wild homes.”

“Bullhooks are outdated, barbaric weapons; other methods such as protected contact and positive reinforcement are more humane and ultimately, safer for humans”, said In Defense of Animals elephant scientist, Toni Frohoff, Ph.D. She continued, “We applaud the efforts of our associates at the Performing Animal Welfare Society and the Humane Society of the United States for cosponsoring the bill, and Senator Ricardo Lara for initiating this momentous change in the State of California. We encourage other states to update their laws to join the progress being made for elephants.”

California is the second state in the nation, following Rhode Island, to ban this abusive weapon. Los Angeles and Oakland, CA, Richmond, VA; Austin, TX; Spokane, WA; and Minneapolis, MN are among the other major cities that have already banned the bullhook. San Francisco is one of many cities that has prohibited the use of all wild animal performances, joining over 30 countries that have restricted animals performing in traveling shows.

In Defense of Animals produces the respected Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants List, now in its twelfth year:

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