Joan Jett urges Rhode Island to protect elephants from abuse

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Joan Jett, from her Twitter page, twitter.com/joanjett.

Rock star Joan Jett today is asking lawmakers in Rhode Island to ban inhumane elephant training devices and to take steps to protect the animals from abuse.

Jett, already in the spotlight this month after performing with Nirvana at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the band, wrote to lawmakers who were set to hold a hearing on the issue today (April 15).

She wants lawmakers to pass legislation — H 7192/S 2189 — that would prohibit the constant chaining of elephants.

Elephants in circuses are typically chained overnight by two legs, permitting only enough space to move 3 feet forward or backward. Chaining severely limits movement and the ability to lie down, and causes deadly foot disorders and arthritis.

The bullhook is the device most commonly used by circuses to train and control elephants, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Resembling a fireplace poker, a bullhook has a sharp metal hook and spiked tip, and the handle is typically plastic or wood. It is used to poke, prod, strike and hit elephants on their sensitive skin in order to "train" them and often causes puncture wounds and lacerations.