API Position: SUPPORT
Update: Sadly, this bill failed to make its way through the legislative process in compliance with legislative deadlines.
Bill Description: This bill would make it unlawful for a person who owns or travels with elephants to engage in inhumane or abusive treatment toward them. Specifically, this bill bans the use of any implement that may reasonably result in harm to an elephant. These implements include an electric prod, bullhook, ankus, or similar device.
This bill will help to protect captive elephants from antiquated practices that should have disappeared a long time ago. The bullhook is the most common device used to train, punish, and control elephants. Both ends of the bullhook are used to inflict damage. The hook is used to apply varying degrees of pressure to sensitive spots on an elephant's body. The handle end can be used as a club. Forceful use of the bullhook in training sessions is common practice in order to render elephants submissive and to train elephants to perform tricks. The bullhook is used as an intimidation device once elephant trainers are in view of the public. Elephants obey the bullhook as a "guide" because they recognize it as a source of pain. Numerous facilities, such as zoos and sanctuaries, are presently taking care of elephants without the use of the bullhook. It is time that the circus industry updates its practices to be more humane.