Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is threatening to bypass P.T. Barnum's home state if its Legislature passes a bill prohibiting the use of an elephant-herding tool known as a bullhook.
Animal rights activists say the hooks can injure elephants.
If the bill is passed and signed into law, Connecticut will be the first state to prohibit the steel tool, circus officials said.
"It is the proven, approved, time-tested, safe, humane tool for properly working with elephants," said Tom Albert, vice president for government affairs for Feld Entertainment Inc., parent company of Ringling Bros.
Animal rights lobbyist Karen Laski said money should not play a role in deciding whether the use of the hooks amounted to animal cruelty.