Thursday, October 24, 2013

Los Angeles Bans Use of Bullhooks on Circus Elephants

The effect is to ban Ringling Bros. Circus from Los Angeles, a very bad move. The policy won't protect the animals but will harm the local economy. It's stupid PC run amok.

NBC Los Angeles reports.

And here's the letter to the editor from Stephen Payne, who is vice president for corporate communications at Feld Entertainment, Ringling Bros.' parent company:
Re "Of elephants and bullhooks," Editorial, Oct. 22

Every year since 1922, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey has performed for circus fans in Los Angeles. Elephants have always been an integral part of Ringling Bros., providing an up-close way for our audiences to experience these amazing animals in a way they can nowhere else.

Unfortunately, The Times appears to have simply accepted the representations of animal rights groups about how our elephants are trained. The "guide," referred to by the outdated term "bullhook" in the editorial, is an animal husbandry tool for working with elephants approved by experts, including the American Veterinary Medical Assn.

Our elephants are comfortable with the training methods and tools used at Ringling Bros., and, more important, many of those trained behaviors are vital for optimal husbandry and veterinary care.

Our elephants define Ringling Bros. for the nearly 100,000 people who come to see them at Staples Center each year. The L.A. City Council should not deny people the right to make the decision to attend and also threaten local jobs by passing this unnecessary and unfair ban on circuses in the city.

Stephen Payne
Vienna, Va.
More at LAist, "Los Angeles Just Basically Banned Circuses."