02 June 2011

Demi Moore and others come through, Fulton County bans the use of elephant bullhooks

The hard work of animal advocates, including actress Demi Moore, to convince commissioners in Fulton County, Georgia, to ban elephant bullhooks has paid off.

Moore penned a letter to commissioners asking them to consider the ban in which she pleaded "elephants deserve our kindness, respect, and protection."

"Thanks to Demi and others who spoke out against the use of cruel bullhooks, the days when circuses could get away with beating elephants until the animals cried out in pain are over in Fulton County," says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. "The commissioners' compassionate action should serve as an example to counties and towns across America that abusing elephants in the name of 'entertainment' will not be tolerated."

Officials voted to ban the use of the cruel devices by a vote of 4-1 thanks in part to Atlanta Humane Society executive board member Anna Ware.

When Ware attempted to bring a bullhook into the commissioners meeting—for demonstration purposes of course—she was apparently stopped by security. Since the instrument appeared to be a weapon, a police detective had to carry the device into the proceedings.

That couldn’t have been a ringing endorsement for the steel clawed torture/training tool.

Of course this didn’t stop employees and associates of Feld Entertainment (Ringling Brothers) in their attempts to convince commissioners that bullhooks are nothing more than “guides” or “elephant husbandry tools.”

According to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, a dozen of the 22 people who spoke at the meeting were associated with Feld Entertainment. What a shock.

Additionally, not to be a party pooper, but the ban only covers the unincorporated southern sections of Fulton County. That means Atlanta is not included.

On the flip side, at least it’s a step in the right direction. First ban bullhooks, next ban the use of animals in circuses completely.

Fulton joins a group of cities and counties in South Carolina (Aiken County), Florida (Pompano Beach and Tallahassee), New York (Southampton), Indiana (Fort Wayne) and Kentucky (Jefferson County) to enact legislation against bullhooks.

Eric Fortney | @elfortney | email
Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his work at TDIV, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago