- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Animal rights activists and the Ringling Bros. circus are getting their final say in a seven-year court battle over treatment of elephants under the big top.

Both sides were to offer closing arguments Wednesday in a six-week trial over circus trainers’ use on elephants of chains and metal-tipped prods called bull hooks.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus says it needs the tools to control the huge animals and protect the public and says the elephants aren’t harmed.

Animal rights advocates say the instruments injure the elephants in violation of the Endangered Species Act. They want the circus the stop using elephants in their shows.

Ringling Bros. says the circus is nothing without elephants.

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