Charlotte City Council Considers Limiting Bullhooks, Electric Prods, & Whips At Circus Performances


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte City Leaders are considering adding new regulations on circus performances.

Bullhooks, electric prods, and whips could banned.

But some animal welfare advocates say those changes wouldn’t go far enough.

“They’ve been giving people and concerned citizens kind of the run-around for a few years now,” says South Charlotte resident Penimah Tehilah.

Tehilah says it’s time the city make changes to the city’s animal ordinance.

She and others protested before Monday night’s City Council meeting, calling for circus acts to be banned in the Queen City.

“Animals are forced to perform. No elephant is going to stand on a stand in their natural behavior. No bear is going to balance a ball on their nose,” Tehilah says.

Advocates say banning or limiting bullhooks, electric prods, and whips doesn’t go far enough.

“Ordinances like bullhooks, or just any kind of welfare laws are completely unenforceable, and they don’t really do anything for the safety and well-being of the animals,” Tehilah says.

But Monday night’s decision is years in the making, after an extended debate over how far the city should go.

At a public forum before the vote, the Operations Director for UniverSoul Circus told board members the company feels wrongly targeted.

“We meet or exceed numerous jurisdictions’ regulations. And some of the accusations being made are clearly out of order, because our circus has not been convicted or accused officially of any wrongdoing,” Benjamin Johnson told board members.

But animal welfare advocate Trey Morrow says protesters will continue to push for a full ban.

“The circus is a dying industry. And I think the way that they can revitalize their industry is if they drop animals completely,” Morrow says.


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