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CVMA Policy on Elephant Guides (bull hooks, ankus) and Tethers

Elephant bull hooks have been used in free contact training and for control during health management and exhibition. The free contact method of training should be replaced by positive reinforcement methods such as protected contact training when possible.  The bull hook should be used in a manner that’s consistent with the safety and well-being of the elephant, its keeper, and the public and should not inflict harm upon an elephant.

The CVMA only supports the use of tethers for the shortest time required for specific management purposes.  Tethers provide a means to temporarily limit an elephant’s movement for elephant and human safety and well-being.  Use of tethers should not result in discomfort or skin injury.  Forelimb tethers should be loose on the foot below the ankle joint, and hind limb tethers should fit snugly on the limb between the ankle and knee joints.  Tether length should be sufficient to allow the elephant to easily lie down and rise.

(Revised April 2013)

© 2017 California Veterinary Medical Association

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