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Joan Jett: RI Must Pass Law Protecting Circus Elephants

House Bill 7192 would prohibit trainers from using a hooked prodder on the animals. The legislation would also prohibit the constant chaining of the animals.

Joan Jett. Courtesy photo.
Joan Jett. Courtesy photo.
Music legend Joan Jett is urging state lawmakers to pass legislation protecting circus elephants.

House Bill 7192 would prohibit trainers from using a hooked prodder on the animals. The legislation would also prohibit the constant chaining of the animals.

The prodder, or bullhook, is often used to strike elephants on a sensitive part of their skin for training purposes.

Lawmakers were scheduled to hold a hearing on the legislation Tuesday.

Below is a letter Jett wrote to lawmakers:

Dear Decision makers,

I was so pleased to learn from my friends at The Humane Society of the United States that Rhode Island is considering a ban on bullhooks and the continuous chaining of elephants used in circuses and traveling shows. I have always loved performing in The Ocean State and the passage of HB 7192/S 2189 would be beyond thrilling.


Bullhooks are heavy rods that resemble fireplace pokers with sharp metal tips; and are used to poke, prod, and hit elephants on their sensitive skin in order to “train” them often causing bloody puncture wounds and lacerations. Its mere presence keeps an elephant in constant fear and intimidation to do as he or she is told or suffer the painful consequences. I have seen several undercover videos of elephants – many of them chained or otherwise physically immobilized – being hit by animal handlers in the circus. The egregious misuse of this device which circus insiders often call “guides” is cruel and inhumane.

If someone were to use a bullhook to control and train a dog or a horse, it would be considered animal cruelty and the same should be applied to elephants. The City of Los Angeles recently banned the use of bullhooks; the Los Angeles Times editorializing “This is a smart and humane measure and should be adopted,” joining more than 35 other jurisdictions in the United States restricting the use of elephants in traveling shows and/or the use of bullhooks on elephants. I sincerely hope I can count on you to see to this bill’s passage.
Russell Archambault April 16, 2014 at 04:30 PM
lets get together Rhode Island and adopt an elephant http://www.pawsweb.org/
BOB I April 16, 2014 at 04:47 PM
LBJ::who the hell is joan jett?
Former Ports resident April 16, 2014 at 05:02 PM
Pat Benatar wants to protect zebras - go ahead folks, hit me with your best shot
Leave RI April 16, 2014 at 05:04 PM
Fire away
Russell Archambault April 16, 2014 at 10:43 PM
What Rhode Islanders Can Do to protect ourselves about zebras. WE MUST INTRODUCE LEGISLATION NOW As of early 1993 (4), no zebra mussels have been found in Rhode Island waters. However, zebra mussels have rapidly expanded their range and are predicted to invade New England waters. Ultimately, zebra mussels will infest most regions of North America. They could threaten local water supplies and become a costly nuisance to boaters, anglers, and industries. It is possible to slow the spread of zebra mussels into New England waters by becoming aware of how these mussels disperse themselves through human activities. Boaters or anglers may inadvertently transport zebra mussels from infested freshwater bodies to noninfested lakes and rivers. In an effort to control zebra mussels from spreading to Rhode Island waters, take the following precautions after boating or fishing in infested waters: 1. INSPECT and CLEAN any zebra mussels and aquatic vegetation from the boat hull, trailer, anchor, anchor rope or chain, and motor. If you see any "hitchhiking" zebra mussels, scrape them off and discard in a trash can. 2. DRAIN all water from the boat and its components. Before leaving the infested area, drain bilge water, live wells, bait buckets, and engine cooling water. 3. DRY the boat, trailer, and equipment. Allow the boat and trailer to dry thoroughly in the sun before transporting to noninfested waters. If it is hot and dry, leaving the boat out of the water for two to four days will effectively kill the mussels. 4. LEAVE any live bait behind. Bait used in infested waters should not be transported to noninfested waters. Give the bait to someone headed out on the body of water you are leaving, or discard at the boat launch.

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