The bullhooks will be gone from circus in
California starting in 2018.

ASSEMBLY | It appears the Oakland City Council is a trend-setter, at least, when it comes to eliminating the gruesome use of the bullhook to control circus elephants.

The State Assembly Thursday approved a bill that would ban circuses performing in California from using bullhooks, a small poker-like implement with a sharp point attached to one end.

Senate Bill 716, if approved by the State Senate, would prohibit bullhooks by 2018. Thursday’s vote in the Assembly was 59-7.

Last year, the Oakland City Council passed its own ordinance banning bullhooks at circus performance within city limits. The legislation, first carried by then council member Libby Schaaf, however, begins in late 2017.

The ordinance was approved 5-2 with Councilmembers Larry Reid and Desley Brooks voting no; Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney abstained.

Oakland’s push against bullhooks followed a ban in Los Angeles and appeared to have been the circus entertainment industry’s last stand for bullhooks in California.

Soon after Oakland’s ordinance was approved last December, Feld Entertainment, which owns the popular Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey Circus, announced it would phase out the use of elephants as circus performers by 2018.