Voting unanimously, the council asked the city attorney's office to prepare an ordinance outlawing the use of the bullhook, a sharp-tipped tool used to train and keep elephants under control. Baseball bats, ax handles, pitchforks and other implements used on the pachyderms would also be banned.
In a concession to Councilman
Many in the standing-room-only crowd in the council chamber at City Hall were upset by the last-minute amendment, which Cedillo said would save jobs of workers who help staff circuses when they come to town.
Some yelled, "Three more years of torture!" after the vote.
Actress Lily Tomlin, an animal rights activist who has long pushed for a bullhook ban, said the council's action should be viewed as a positive first step.
"We'd like it to be stopped this hour,'' she said at a press conference following the vote. "But it can't be and it's going to be done this way. We're grateful for any kind of movement at all."
Feld Entertainment Inc., the producer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circuses, had sought to stop a ban. "The arguments in favor of such bans are steeped in emotion and rife with broad generalizations that misrepresent what is the norm in the responsible care, training and management of elephants," Thomas L. Albert, vice president of Feld, said in a prepared statement.
In July, officials said, L.A. Animal Services conducted 25 hours of inspections of Ringling Bros.' appearance at
In 2013, nearly 90,000 Angelenos came to the Ringling Bros. circus, according to Feld.
During the hearing, Councilman
In another scene, an elephant can be heard making sounds of apparent distress after an animal prod is applied to its skin by a trainer. Council President
"Mr. Koretz I believe we've seen more than enough," Wesson said. "I'm ready to vote."
"This is a huge win for elephants," she said.