An undercover video shows circus trainers using pointy rods called bullhooks to stab and yank at the elephants, as part of training.
Next week, council member Noel Gallo will present an ordinance that bans the use of the bullhooks and other tools that inflict pain on elephants.
"We're not banning elephants," Gallo said. "We're not banning the circus. We're simply banning the instrument that is being used to discipline and motivate elephants. "
The Oakland Zoo used bullhooks until 1991 when a trainer was killed by an elephant.
Workers now use treats while working with elephants.
Representatives from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus have threatened to skip Oakland during their U.S. tour if the ordinance is adopted.