Oakland Passes New Circus Safety Rules; Sets Stage For Bullhook Ban

Bullhook used to control circus animals

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | The use of bullhooks by circuses traveling through Oakland will continue, but according to some opponents of the fire poker-like implement used to control elephants, the end may be near. On Tuesday night, the city council unanimously approved an ordinance authored by Councilmember Libby Schaaf that places stronger regulations on the safety of spectators at circus performances in Oakland and rules ensuring the greater care of the animals. Until Tuesday night’s decision, the city lacked a specific ordinance regarding either issue. The new ordinance is similar to regulations passed in San Jose, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.

Animal rights advocates and the Oakland Zoo applauded the new rules, but many public speakers and a few council members continued a push to ban the bullhook from Oakland. “This is a vital first step in acknowledging that animals used for entertainment need protection,” said Christy Griffin representing the animal rights group, In Defense of Animals. “I also urge you to pursue stricter measures to ban all animals or enact a bullhook ban…