The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to ban the use of bullhooks in wrangling elephants, which could mean the end of the circus in Los Angeles.
The vote was unanimous, 13-0, and for what it’s worth, it had the backing of celebrities including comedian Sarah Silverman and the singer Ke$ha.
The L.A. Zoo stopped using bullhooks – which look like fire pokers– three years ago.
Animal rights activists have long argued they are cruel and inhumane and point to YouTube videos showing abuse at the circus. (Story continues below poll.)
But Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey, argues they are an accepted tool and that the new law is misguided.
“There are already laws in place — federal, state and local ordinances – that prohibit animal cruelty," said Payne. "So this is basically an animal rights driven bill to kick out the circus.”
But will the Greatest Show on Earth really leave L.A. for good?
Payne says his company is waiting to see the exact wording of the new law, which will be phased in over three years.
“There may be some options," said Payne. "We don’t know yet. We’re leaving all possibilities on the table.”
Ringling Brothers is booked at Staples Center until 2016.
Payne says the last show, in July, attracted 90,000 people and brought more than a million dollars in economic impact to downtown.
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