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Fulton County in favor of use of bullhooks on elephants
Last week we wrote to the Fulton County Commissioners (Atlanta, Georgia) urging them to vote in favor of a ban on the use of bullhooks on elephants - Letter to Fulton County Commissioners about proposed ban of use of bullhook (71.96 kB). Wednesday we were disappointed to learn that the majority of Commissioners voted against banning the bullhook. They prioritized money over animal welfare, and based their decision on rubbish rather than sound science.
Do any of the Honorable Commissioners really believe that an animal as enormous and powerful as an elephant can be made to follow "guidance" by merely waving a small stick with a metal hook and point? The only reason why an elephant can be "guided" by a bullhook is because she was trained with its sharp steel point and hook and is reminded frequently of the pain it can inflict if she disobeys. By its very nature, a bullhook is a negative re-enforcer - causing the elephant to move away from the source of pain. Rewards are positive re-enforcers. In an article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the voting Andrew Smith, of the Elephant Managers Association, demonstrates clearly that he does not know the difference between positive and negative re-enforcement. Strange.