Animal Rights Activists Winning, Circus Is Retiring Elephant Acts From Shows

March 6, 2015

The most popular circus in the United States is finally putting an end to the use of elephants in their shows. Over the next three years, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will phase the highly intelligent animals out due to growing concerns of their mistreatment.

elephants saved from circus

Animal rights groups are thrilled with the announcement.

"This is a startling and tremendously exciting announcement," the Humane Society shared. "With consumers now so alert to animal welfare issues, no business involved in any overt form of animal exploitation can survive in the long run. Whether it is locking pigs in metal cages on factory farms or chaining elephants for long-distance travel in performing circuses, businesses must adapt to public concerns in order to succeed in today’s humane economy."

"For 35 years PETA has protested Ringling Bros.' cruelty to elephants," Ingrid E. Newkirk, the president of PETA wrote in a statement. "We know extreme abuse to these majestic animals occurs every single day, so if Ringling is really telling the truth about ending this horror, it will be a day to pop the champagne corks, and rejoice. ... If the decision is serious, then the circus needs to do it NOW."

elephants saved from circus

"This is a tremendous victory for the elephants ... as well as for everyone who fought for this change," ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker said in a statement. "We continue to oppose using elephants or any wild or exotic animals in circuses, carnivals and other traveling animal shows."

The current owner of the circus, Kenneth Feld, says new structures will be needed to house the retiring elephants at the rural center, which is close enough to Orlando to attract tourists eventually. He says initially the center will be open only to scientists and others studying the Asian elephant, but he "hopes it expands to something the public will be able to see."

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