BOSTON (WWLP) – Beacon Hill lawmakers are pushing hard to prevent mistreatment towards elephants. 22News is working for you to explain why animal advocates say the circus sometimes isn’t all fun and games.
State lawmakers and animal advocates are supporting a bipartisan bill that bans the use of bullhooks on captive elephants.
Marblehead state Representative Lori Erhlich called the bullhook a “device of torture” as it was passed along for members of the state Legislature’s Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development Committee to see. She says circus trainers control elephants by hitting them with bullhooks on sensitive areas of their skin.
Circus animal trainers say they never use the bullhook to harm elephants.
Janice Aria of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus told 22News, “The use of this tool is essential and very professional and we monitor that as do federal government, each state and each city.”
“They’ll get them to stand on little tiny tubs, which is very unnatural when your foot is this big and the way they get them to do that is by harming them,” said Erhlich.
Representative Erhlich says that by banning the bullhook, circus trainers would have to rely on positive reinforcement to train elephants.
Circus trainers say that would put them in danger considering the size of an elephant.