Commend Ban on Circus Elephant Abuse


Target: Los Angeles City Council

Goal: Support ban on the use of abusive training techniques for elephants.

On October 24, 2013, the Los Angeles City Council passed an important ordinance that orders circuses to stop using abusive tactics for training elephants. Any circus that refuses to comply with the new rule will be forced to stop using elephants in their shows. The ordinance specifically identifies bullhooks as an abusive tool used for training elephants, and prohibits their use in the future. A bullhook is a long stick with a curved knife at the end. This stick is thrust into an elephant’s skin when it does something wrong. This inflicts serious pain and at times can cut the skin itself. Other abusive training instruments that have been banned include baseball bats and leaf rakes. Los Angeles is the first major city in the United States to institute a ban on bullhooks. Sign this petition to support Los Angeles’s decision, and inspire other cities to do the same.

Although elephants have thick skin, they can still feel the sharp spear of a bullhook or impact from a baseball bat. Upsetting videos convey how deeply these animals are affected by such physical abuse. The abuse is also emotional, as elephants can develop feelings of helplessness and depression from the repeated attacks. Although some trainers may claim that elephants’ skin is too thick for them to experience any serious pain from the blows, this is far from the truth. Signing this petition not only to encourages other cities to pass similar ordinances, but also to raise awareness about the problem of elephant abuse.


Dear Los Angeles City Council:

This letter is to commend you for passing an ordinance to protect elephants that are abused at the hands of circuses. Although it can be a fascinating experience to watch a trained elephant perform, an audience’s thrill should not come at the expense of another living being’s welfare. Los Angeles was courageous in passing the ordinance to protect elephants, and hopefully other cities will be quick to follow suit.

Additionally, it was wise to give circuses a three-year time frame to either desist using abusive measures or to stop using animals in their shows. Some circuses might abruptly discard elephants upon learning that they could no longer use the training methods they were accustomed to. The three year time period gives circuses the opportunity to adjust to the new circumstances and re-home elephants, rather than seek out the quickest fix available.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Justin Ennis via Flickr

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