Chicago's aldermen were not ready to step right up today and support a proposal aimed at curbing abuse of circus elephants. Two aldermen blocked a vote on the elephant-protection ordinance championed by Ald. Mary Ann Smith (48th) as the circus comes to the city next week. Smith originally wanted to ban the use of bull hooks on elephants. She agreed to amend the proposal to merely make it illegal "to use on an elephant any device or instrument with the intent to cause pain and injury, except as necessary to administer legitimate medical treatment." The ordinance also would ban chaining elephants except when necessary. Both changes leave more room for interpretation by circuses and law enforcement.
Born Free USA united with API's lawsuit against Ringling for mistreating its endangered Asian elephants (with, among other things, chaining and the bullhook) goes to trial on February 9, 2009.
Aldermen block vote on elephant-protection ordinance
Chicago Breaking News Center