Legislation regarding the banning of bull hooks or guides in the handling of elephants has been receiving a lot of attention lately. If passed, proposed legislation would ban the use of this tool in California beginning in 2018, affecting not only circuses but also zoos and other elephant facilities and veterinarians. The Senate Public Safety Committee has scheduled a hearing regarding California Senate Bill 716 on Tuesday, April 28. To ensure that your opposition is considered as part of the Committee’s Bill Analysis information (a matter of public record listing Supporters and Opponents of the bill), be sure to voice your opinion or send a letter of opposition as soon as possible.
Here’s how you can make your voice heard: email, telephone, or write a letter expressing your opposition to this bill, and encourage those you know to do the same.
Direct correspondence to:
Senate Standing Committee on Public Safety
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Email for Committee: SCOPS@sen.ca.gov
Committee website (with links to individual members): http://spsf.senate.ca.gov/
Sample Talking Points
Feel free to download and sign this letter to send to the committee, or use your own words when opposing this legislation. The following talking points are provided for inspiration and education.
- This legislation would prevent circuses and other traveling exhibitors with elephants from visiting California.
- Circus elephants and other performing animals are generally healthier and live longer than their counterparts in zoos.
- The elephant guide, also known as the bull hook or ankus, has been used in the handling of elephants for thousands of years.
- If any animal is being mistreated in any environment, then the right answer is to enforce existing laws and regulations to punish bad actors, as opposed to punishing an entire industry and the public who enjoy seeing and interacting with elephants.
- Proponents of performing animal bans mischaracterize or misunderstand the facts about the training and handling of circus animals and often advocate bans as part of a larger animal rights agenda which opposes human interaction with animals.