Aldermen Soft on Elephant Protection

Sponsor of proposed ordinance says she's heartbroken

"My heart's broken. But, we did what we could," a disappointed Alderman Mary Ann Smith said of her work to pass a city ordinance to protect elephants.

Smith said many City Council members were sensitive to public ridicule that followed Chicago's ban on foie gras, and that they hesitated to stand with her in her crusade after the 2005 death of three elephants at Lincoln Park Zoo.   Smith wanted to prohibit circuses and exhibitors from using "ankus, bull hooks" and other devices that "inflict pain, cause or are likely to cause injury to an elephants."

An ordinance passed in City Council this week is a watered-down version of that proposal. It states that it is unlawful "to use on an elephant any device or instrument with the intent to cause pain and injury." 

There's no mention of the bull hooks, and only a vague notion of "intent."

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