Oakland City Council will decide whether to ban the bullhook at circus next week

An elephant trainer holding a bullhook.

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | One year after the Oakland City Council passed a watered down ordinance regulating the safety of circus performances in the city, a proposed new law would go further by banning the use of bullhooks and other implements used for controlling elephants. The proposed ordinance is headed for discussion to the full council later this month.

The proposed ordinance, passed the Oakland City Council Public Safety Committee on Tuesday night, is far more strict than one introduced late last year by Councilmember Libby Schaaf, which fell short of banning the bullhook. Animal activists say the tool, essentially a stick with a small hook and point attached to the end, wields unnecessary fear in elephants and constitutes torture.

But representatives from Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey Circus, among other properties that use the Oakland Coliseum complex for performances, are threatening to drop Oakland from their touring schedule if the ban of bullhook is approved. Feld Entertainment also brings motor-cross and monster truck events to the Coliseum, along with various Disney on Ice productions. City staff said the Coliseum complex, which is jointly operated by the city and Alameda County, could lose up to $1.4 million in revenue if Feld Entertainment were to pull out of Oakland.


Categories: bullhook, circus, coliseum, Dan Kalb, Feld Entertainment, Libby Schaaf, Lynette McElhaney, Noel Gallo, Oakland City Council, public safety committee, Ringling Bros, Teamsters

2 replies

  1. By MW:

    In regard to using tools and implements for controlling animals, and especially creatures that might be extreme wild animals and totally out of control, all of us residents of the Bay area should get together to fund a study to see whether there are any tools and implements presently available, or if not that could be invented, that could be used to control sleazy politicians and crooked lawyers.

    In fact if lawyers and politicians were hooked up to wires that would give them a high voltage electric shock every single time they told a lie, we would have to build at least several nuclear electric power generating plants to supply the East Bay alone.


  2. Steven…Parrott's stand on why Smokey did what she did is revisionist at best, and you bumped it along.


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