The Pain Behind the Performance: Bullhook Use on Elephants - Elephant

The Pain Behind the Performance: Bullhook Use on Elephants


As majestic creatures, elephants have amazed people from around the world with their intelligence, strength, and grace. Unfortunately, the exploitation of elephants for entertainment purposes is still rampant in many parts of the world, especially in Southeast Asia. One of the most common methods used by trainers to control and manage these gentle giants is the use of bullhooks, which inflict unimaginable pain on the animals and can cause severe physical and psychological trauma.

What are Bullhooks?

A bullhook is a tool used by elephant trainers to control and manage elephants. It is made from a long wooden or metal handle with a sharp metal hook at the end. Handlers use the hook to poke, prod, and poke elephants on sensitive areas of their skin, such as their ears, lips, and legs. The sharp edges of the hook can also cause bruises, cuts, and infections, making it a cruel and inhumane device to use for any living being.

The Painful Process of Training Elephants with Bullhooks

The process of breaking an elephant’s spirit to make them obey trainers involves a long and painful journey. It often begins when they are separated from their mothers, as young elephants are easier to train than the adult ones. Once they are in captivity, the bullhooks become a constant reminder of their helplessness and submission.

Handlers’ use of bullhooks is not just to control elephants; they are also used to inflict pain and punishment on them. This is done to “discipline” the animal when they do not follow instructions. Most of the time, this involves hitting sensitive areas with the sharp end of the hook. This process can cause swelling, bleeding, and even infections that can be fatal for the animal.

The Physical and Psychological Effects of Bullhooks on Elephants

For elephants, the use of bullhooks can have both physical and psychological impacts that last a lifetime. Repeated use of the bullhook can lead to visible injuries such as open wounds, scars, and deformities. The constant pain can also lead to mental distress, preventing the animal from exhibiting natural behaviors such as play, socialize, and explore, as well as causing them to become aggressive and uncooperative.

Elephants are highly intelligent animals. They have a good memory and can remember traumatic events that occurred years ago. The psychological trauma associated with bullhooks can cause lifelong psychological damage, leading to severe stress, anxiety, and depression. It can even cause PTSD-like symptoms, making them unable to cope with the stress and anxiety associated with their captivity and torture.


The use of bullhooks on elephants is a widespread problem in many parts of the world. As conscientious and responsible individuals, we must stand up and raise our voices against this inhumane practice. It is not fair to exploit these majestic beings and subject them to cruelty and pain for the sake of entertainment. We must encourage governments, tourists, and locals to stop supporting such shows and promote ethical elephant sanctuaries and wildlife habitats. By doing so, we can ensure the safety and well-being of these intelligent creatures and help them enjoy a life free from pain and distress.

Like it? Share with your friends!



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *