Action Alert: Anne Arundel County, MD – Ordinance to Ban Elephant Guide

Full alert at:

The Anne Arundel (MD) County Council is considering an ordinance to ban the use of the elephant guide (also called a bull hook/ankus) in the county beginning in 2016. This proposal is specifically aimed at ending elephant rides at the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival.  The ordinance is scheduled to be introduced at the County Council meeting on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at 7:00pm EDT.  The text of the ordinance is attached for your reference.

The elephant guide is a widely accepted and humane elephant management tool that is absolutely necessary for people to safely work or interact with elephants in a public setting, whether it is at a fair, in a circus, or in a zoo.  Further, proper use of the elephant guide is a crucial component for elephant management in breeding and conservation programs and for providing comprehensive veterinary care.  In short, elephants are better off when they can be cared for in the hands-on manner that this tool allows.  Further, the opportunity to experience elephants up close at a fair contributes greatly to educating the public about these magnificent animals and promotes the human-animal bond that is crucial to the survival of the species.

Please take a moment to contact the members of the Anne Arundel County Council (see below) with a short e-mail, phone call, or letter to voice your support of elephant rides.  Maryland residents who have been to the Maryland Renaissance Festival are especially encouraged to contact the Council members.  Sample talking points for your correspondence are listed at the end of this alert.  Thank you for your help!

Anne Arundel County Council
Email addresses:,,,,,,

 Mailing address:
Anne Arundel County Council
P.O. Box 2700
Annapolis, Maryland 21404

 Phone: (410) 222-1401
Fax: (410) 222-1755

County Council Members:
Jerry Walker – Chairman
Pete Smith – Vice Chairman
John J. Grasso (co-sponsor of ordinance)
Derek Fink
Andrew C. Pruski
Michael Anthony Peroutka
Chris Trumbauer (co-sponsor of ordinance)

Sample Talking Points
The following are suggestions for your correspondence in California, but please use your own words, and you do not need to include every bullet point.  Please keep all correspondence respectful.

·         Politely tell the Anne Arundel County Council members that you are OPPOSED to any measure that would prevent elephant handlers from using this widely accepted and humane elephant management tool.

·         True animal experts know that a safe and secure environment is the only acceptable and successful method of training any animal, including elephants.  The elephant guide, sometimes called a bull hook or ankus, has been used by elephant handlers for thousands of years.  Elephant handlers in zoos, nature preserves and circuses throughout the world use the guide as an extension of the trainer’s arm along with a voice command.

·         The elephant guide is also approved by veterinary and zoological organizations because it enhances the ability of veterinarians and keepers to care for their elephants.

·         If any animal is being mistreated in any environment, then the right answer is to enforce existing laws and regulations to punish bad actors, as opposed to punishing an entire industry and the public who enjoy elephant exhibitions.