Success! Los Angeles Bans Use of Bullhooks on Circus Elephants

This week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban the use of bullhooks on circus elephants. A huge thank you goes to the Care2 members who signed our petition to protect circus elephants. Your voices have been heard, and the nation’s most populous county has finally taken steps to end this unnecessary practice for good.

Bullhooks feature sharp edges and cause considerable harm to elephants, from the emotional (pain and fear) to the physical (bruising and bleeding). For years, circus trainers have used bullhooks to intimidate and beat elephants on the most sensitive parts of their bodies, just so they can perform uncomfortable tricks in front of large crowds.

In addition to the ban on bullhooks, baseball bats, ax handles and pitchforks will also be prohibited under the ordinance the Los Angeles City Council passed by a vote of 13-0.

While the ban is a step in the right direction, bullhooks are not leaving town just yet. The 13-0 City Council vote means that attorneys will begin drafting an ordinance that will enforce the ban following a three-year transition period for circuses and trainers. However, following the transition period, the ban will be thoroughly implemented, and any use of such tools will be illegal.

Unsurprisingly, the circus industry is not taking this development lightly. Industry leaders and trainers view the ban as a nod against circuses and just another instance of animal activists “forcing” the show out of the city. Circuses such as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey have used bullhooks for years and feel this ban will harm business considerably.

However, the ban is not directed against circuses, but rather, against the tortuous tools used on animals who have been taken out of their natural habitats. Performing circus tricks is by no means natural for elephants or any other animals.

The ban is a success for animal activists, and more importantly, circus elephants in Los Angeles County. This ordinance will be an example for other cities across the nation to follow in order to provide a safer environment for animals everywhere.

Take Action!

Care2 member Kelly Rogers created her petition to advocate for the treatment of elephants in Los Angeles and the world over. If you have a cause that you want to mobilize, you can create your own petition here.

Photo Credit: wolfsard


Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Angela K.
Angela K3 years ago


Carrie-Anne Brown

great news, thanks for sharing :)

Annie R.
Annie R4 years ago

Nothing is worse then to see animals being beaten, starved and unloved. At the very least people should care.

Laura Reyna
Laura Reyna4 years ago

I think this is something incredible, a grate step to do a change

Juliette A.
juliette a4 years ago

elephants shouldn't be used & abused in circus's!

Lucia De Neef
Lucia De Neef4 years ago

Ne venez plus me dire que ça ne sert a rien les pétitions, Love

Jan S.
Jan S4 years ago

jana d. - circuses even abuse the domestic animals. a cop in my town witnessed a trainer squeezing a dogs paw behind the cutain after it did the stupid tricks! and horses are often punched. These animals all perform out of fear.

Jelena Radovanovic
Past Member 4 years ago

These are the best news.Thank you.

Emanuela Boriani
Emanuela BORIANI4 years ago

In my opinion, the aim of who loves and cares animals should be not to have, any more, circus with animals.
Let's boycott them and let's ask our politicians make laws which ban using animals, every kind of animal, in circus.
Take care of animals coming from circus putting them in natural Stocks where specialized people work for their rehabilitation.