Senator Leach and Lieutenant Governor Stack Praise Circus Elephant Phase-Out

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The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus went on Thursday night in Hartford without the act that left nine performers hurt.

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.

Leach’s statement:

“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.”

Stack’s statement:

“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.”

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