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Los Angeles bans bullhooks used to control circus elephants

General May 1, 2014

Elephants from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus line up for a photo under the Brooklyn Bridge in the Brooklyn Borough of New YorkBy Dana Feldman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles has banned the use of bullhooks, pitchforks, baseball bats and other goads that circus trainers use to control elephants and other exotic animals, delighting campaigners and angering showmen. Animal rights groups such as PETA and celebrities – including actress Kristen Bell, comedian Sarah Silverman and singer Ke$ha – have campaigned against the use of the prods that they say amounts to torture, Los Angeles City News Service said. The ban, passed unanimously by the city council on Wednesday, takes effect in January 2017, a delay meant to give circuses time to change how they handle elephants or remove them from the shows, which draw audiences of 100,000. Stephen Payne, spokesman for circus operator Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, said the law was "completely unnecessary" and would force the cancellation of Los Angeles circus events, although City News Service quoted him as saying that the circus may move to a venue outside the city limits.


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