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Who speaks for elephants? Los Angeles bans bullhooks and other cities should, too

The Los Angeles City Council has set an ethical benchmark by voting unanimously to ban the use of bullhooks—weapons with a sharp steel hook that are used to gouge and beat elephants.

The action means that notoriously cruel circuses that rely on bullhooks to keep elephants in constant fear of being hit will be prohibited from exhibiting these animals in the city.

Bullhooks are designed to hurt. The sharp hook on the end can rip skin and leave bloody wounds. The bullhook is a weapon of power and control that’s entrenched in the circus mentality.

As the public learns more about how elephants and other animals suffer in the circus, they are staying away. City officials everywhere should follow the lead of Los Angeles and slam the door shut on circus cruelty. — Jennifer O’Connor, PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Va.