Bill to ban bullhooks on elephants passes California Senate

Tom Rider, bullhook, bull hook
FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2006 file photo, Tom Rider, a former circus elephant trainer, shows a bullhook that is used by elephant trainers to members of Nebraska's Judiciary Committee in Loncoln, in support of a bill that would ban the use of the devices Nebraska. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

SACRAMENTO (KRON) — California is one step closer to becoming the first state to ban the use of bullhooks to guide and discipline elephants.

Friday, the Senate voted 97-7 to pass SB716, which would ban the controversial tool throughout the state.

Senator Ricardo Lara, a Democrat from Bell Gardens, said that the hooks are cruel to elephants and dangerous to their handlers if the elephant rebels.

The bill was sought by the Humane Society of the United States and the Performing Animal Welfare Society. The groups say that no accredited sanctuary or California zoo uses bullhooks.

The only person to speak out against the bill was Senator Jeff Stone, a Republican from Temecula. He said that the hook has been used for centuries and is not torturous.

The bill will now go to the Assembly for a discussion and vote.

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