HARRISBURG – State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) and Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack today praised the decision by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to phase out the use of elephants in its shows by 2018.
During the 2013-2014 legislative session, Leach and Stack were co-prime sponsors of Senate Bill 1444, which would have banned the use of bullhooks in the Commonwealth. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus uses bullhooks to train elephants by inflicting correctional pain on the animal. The instrument, a long rod with a sharp hook and poker on one end, is also used on elephants during performances.
Leach plans to reintroduce the bill to ban bullhooks during the 2015-2016 legislative session.
“Abusing animals for entertainment is unconscionable, which is why I partnered with Lieutenant Governor Stack to protect circus elephants being used in Pennsylvania. I applaud Ringling Brothers for responding to our concerns and the concerns of all Americans who have supported similar legislation nationwide.”
“Our society can often be measured by how we handle things we control. The use of bullhooks was a sad statement for our society. Instead of using voice commands and rewards to control elephants, some companies resorted to using barbaric bullhooks. Allowing the use of these bullhooks sent a message that we do not respect elephants, one of earth’s most majestic creatures. As the former co-prime sponsor in the Senate of SB 1444 and other bills to protect animals, I was pleased to learn today that Ringling Brothers is phasing out its elephant acts. Clearly, the pressure applied in Pennsylvania and other states influenced the circus company’s decision. I hope elephants will be now able to live a more natural life, free from the inhumane stress and coercion imposed upon them for entertainment.”