Elephants Go First: LA Takes Steps to Stop Circus Cruelty

Last week, the City of Los Angeles took steps towards banning elephants at traveling circuses, including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

According to the Daily News of Los Angeles, the city’s Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee recommended that the City Council vote on the issue, which will involve voting on a proposal to ban elephants or billhooks — the sharp instruments that are used to “train” and control elephants — or to go all out and ban both.

Bullhooks are supposedly used as nothing more than a guide, but their real purpose is to inflict pain to establish dominance and force elephants to perform tricks they would never otherwise perform through fear. These instruments have come under fire in a number of places for the amount of damage they can do to the surprisingly sensitive areas of an elephant’s body.

“Frankly, it made my blood boil,” said Councilman Paul Koretz, who introduced the proposal, after hearing expert testimony and watching footage of elephants being mistreated. “The video was shot undercover and it showed traveling circus elephants being struck viciously with a bullhook, over and over again, for no apparent reason.”

Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS) acknowledged that the city’s goal should be to ban all wild animals from the circus, but it wanted to make elephants a priority and animal advocates are celebrating the decision.

“We hope that this move will completely eliminate elephants from circuses that visit Los Angeles. It is not just the physical abuse these animals endure but the confinement and deprivation of being forced to live in city center car lots when the circus comes to town. It is completely inappropriate to keep elephants with traveling circuses and that was acknowledged at yesterday’s meeting,” said Tim Phillips, Vice President of Animal Defenders International.

Feld Entertainment, on the other hand, is balking at the news. The company claims that the it wasn’t allowed to provide input, that LAAS provided biased information and that the move would cost “hundreds, if not thousands, of local jobs.”

Feld Entertainment is clearly less concerned with the welfare of the animals in its care than it is with the profits it can reap from the continued exploitation and abuse of those without a voice. Hopefully, the momentum to protect elephants from ongoing abuse will continue and Los Angeles will be next on the list of city’s that have bans or regulations on wild and exotic animals.

Related Stories:

UK Unanimously Votes for a Circus Ban

Anne, Beaten Elephant Will Go to Sanctuary

Tina, Jewel and Queenie STILL Not Having Fun at the Circus

Photo credit: wolfsavard

304 comments

Connie B.
Connie B.3 years ago

If I encountered this "f- - - king guy in person, I knock the "f- - - king" shit out of him. I'd make sure he never stood-up again. What's wrong is wrong.

Christine Teeft
Christine Teeft3 years ago

What gives humans the right to torture and harm animals? The "Circus Trainers" are nothing but scum of the earth. Real dirtbags that get off on hearing an elephant cry in pain. When they get enough of it, the animals try to escape and can't even be shot correctly, but have to suffer more at the hands of man. California you're doing a good job, but you need to step up the pace so more animals aren't subjected to the horrors they have to live everyday. It breaks my heart to see the stuff people do. If I had the money, I'd have a animal friendly sanctuary for all the abused, tortured, imprisoned animals from all over the world.

Val D.
Val D.3 years ago

Hooray for L.A.! Let's get this ball movin'! I can't believe there are still elephants and other animals in circuses. It is such a cruel life for them.

Edvanir L.
Edvanir L.3 years ago

I signed the petition and shered.

Edvanir L.
Edvanir L.3 years ago

This is revolting!!!

Kelly Lowry
Kelly Lowry3 years ago

How can we dare call ourselves civilized, superior beings when this is allowed encouraged? I'm am sickened at times being part of this human race. People love to say phrases like "acting like animals" when referring to barbaric acts when it should be acting like humans because animals don't act out of vengeance, malice, hatred oh the list goes on and on humans are the barbarians NOT Animals

Kelly Lowry
Kelly Lowry3 years ago

How can we dare call ourselves civilized, superior beings when this is allowed encouraged? I'm am sickened at times being part of this human race. People love to say phrases like "acting like animals" when referring to barbaric acts when it should be acting like humans because animals don't act out of vengeance, malice, hatred oh the list goes on and on humans are the barbarians NOT Animals

Ritva J.
Ritva J.3 years ago

Who needs circuses? They are just places where psychos practice cruelty.

Teresa M.
Past Member 3 years ago

signed This is so wrong and so very sad :(

Pauline B.
Pauline B.3 years ago

signed and shared