Georgia ban on circus elephant 'hooks'

June 2, 2011 at 1:27 PM
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ATLANTA, June 2 (UPI) -- Commissioners in Georgia's Fulton County have voted to ban the use of elephant bullhooks by circuses, but the ban does not cover Atlanta, officials said.

The ban on bullhooks -- an instrument shaped like a fire poker with a steel claw with two sharpened tips -- applies only to unincorporated areas of the country and will not keep bullhooks out of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus' shows at Philips Arena, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

Animal advocates said Atlanta would be their next battleground, as well as Gwinnett and DeKalb counties, the newspaper reported.

"I see this as setting precedent and a stepping stone," Anna Ware of the Atlanta Humane Society said.

Fulton County is the first Georgia jurisdiction to institute a ban on bullhooks, following cities and counties in Florida, South Carolina, New York, Kentucky and Indiana.

Thomas Albert, vice president of government relations of Feld Entertainment, owners of Ringling Brothers, characterized bullhooks as "guides" and "elephant husbandry tools" used by some zoos.

"Without this tool, you cannot have elephants at the circus. Period," he said.

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