Ringling Bros. End Elephant Act!
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus have announced they will be ending their elephant performances ahead of schedule, and retire all their 11 touring elephants by May, after more than a century of using the animals in their acts.
Originally, the parent company of the circus, Feld Entertainment, announced plans that the entire herd of elephants would be retired by 2018 to their Center for Elephant Conservation, which is a 200-acre space and located between Orlando and Tampa. However, the officials came to the decision to house the elephants a year and a half early as the facilities were prepared for the incoming elephants faster than expected. There are currently 29 elephants on the property now, and each one costs about $65,000 a year to care for, according to Alana Feld, the executive vice president of Ringling Bros.
The decision, however, comes about after a lot of criticism towards the performances themselves and towards the use of wild animals in entertainment, and as many local governments put “anti-circus” acts into place as a result of growing scrutiny over the treatment involved. It therefore became increasingly difficult to organize the once popular tour.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, sees this as a very important move, since it shows that even a company that has used elephants for so long can make the decision to retire them. He stated:
“Ringling had been one of the biggest defenders of this kind of archaic animal exploitation, and the imminent end of its traveling elephant acts signaled that even one of the most tough-minded and hardened animal-use companies now recognized that the world is changing and it had to adapt.”
Ringling Bros. will begin their show in July, without the elephants.
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