Ringling Brothers: Elephants Will Be Phased Out Of Circus By 2018

Ringling Brothers is phasing out elephants in their Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus events. Elephants will no longer be part of the “Greatest Show on Earth” by 2018, according to Feld Entertainment, the circus’ parent company.

Elephants have been a part of the Ringling Bros. Circus for more than a century. The decision to phase out elephants came amid increasing public pressure by animal rights groups about the treatment of the massive creatures. A total of 43 elephants will be housed at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Center for Elephant Conservation. Approximately 29 elephants currently reside at the 200-acre Florida facility, and 14 more elephants will be arriving in the near future. Ringling Bros. has loaned one elephant to the Fort Worth Zoo for breeding purposes.

“There’s been somewhat of a mood shift among our consumers. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with us touring with our elephants,” Feld Entertainment Executive Vice President Alana Feld said.

According to the Feld company president, Kenneth Feld, some countries and cities have passed either “anti-elephant” or “anti-circus” laws. The three shows offered by Ringling Brothers tour approximately 115 cities during a typical year.

Kenneth Feld added that it is expensive to legally fight the anti-circus and anti-elephant ordinances in each respective city or nation. Tour planning had also reportedly become difficult due to “constantly changing regulations.”

The Ringling Bros. added, “All of the resources used to fight these things can be put towards the elephants. We’re not reacting to our critics; we’re creating the greatest resource for the preservation of the Asian elephant.”

Some have speculated that Ringling Brothers will ultimately go the Cirque du Soleil route and phase out animals and focus on human performances only. Early this year, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus reportedly added camel stunt riders from Mongolia to its Circus Xtreme show.

What do you think about the Ringling Brothers elephants phase-out?

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