|Courtesy Google Images|
On November 20th, the Los Angeles City Council will consider banning the use of live elephants in traveling exhibits/circuses that visit Los Angeles as well as the use of bullhooks against an elephant. Though it is my preference that all exotic animals be banned from circuses and other such exhibitions - I am happy to start here.
Elephants in such environments are forced to suffer intense confinement, chaining, prodding, physical deprivation, isolation, long hours in transport and absolutely horrific methods of behavior modification that include physical violence all for the ultimate indignity of “entertaining” us by sitting on a stool! We have also seen the results of such treatment such as the collapse of Sarah the elephant during a Ringling Brothers performance in California.
Notwithstanding the fact that the more enlightened perspective is to leave such “entertainment” in the annals of history, or the collective tolerance of what would under other circumstances amount to repeated acts of animal cruelty, the transmission of zoonotic diseases, such as tuberculosis, and other public safety concerns, such as escape, can support such a ban as well.
|Bullhook Courtesy Google Images|
Additionally, the bullhook, a heavy rod with a sharp metal tip, often referred to as a “guide”, which is used to smack, “train”, intimidate and “guide” the elephants to their respective destinations, must be banned. These instruments are capable of causing lacerations, punctures, and great pain when used with force, particularly on an elephant’s extremely sensitive trunk. The assertion that the use of the bullhook rarely leaves a mark is nonsense. It would be analogous to repeatedly smacking someone in the face during a walk to ensure that he or she gets to Starbucks on time. The constant smacking may not leave a mark – but – it surely would be horrible to endure.
I respectfully submit that it is time to take action. There is an old Indian Proverb that states:
“Keep five yards from a carriage, ten yards from a horse, and a hundred yards from an elephant; but the distance one should keep from a wicked man cannot be measured.”
Let’s keep our elephants safe, free of pain, and away from those who would abuse or exploit them.
Please contact your councilperson and request that they do so.
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