Ringling Brothers Finally Free Elephants from Abusive Circus Acts

No more elephants in chains. No more sharp bullhooks to coax them to perform tricks. That’s been the battle cry of animal rights groups across the country. And after years of pressure from such groups, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is phasing out its world famous elephant acts. By 2018, the popular animals will be humanely relocated to a central Florida conservation center to join as many as 40 other Ringling Bros. elephants.

Feld Entertainment, the company that owns Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, noted that it plans to focus on saving the Asian elephant, which is listed as endangered by wildlife conservation groups. According to The Associated Press, Feld Entertainment owns the largest herd of Asian elephants in North America. Nearly 30 million people attend one of the 5,000 live entertainment shows put on by Feld every year.

The decision to phase elephants out of its circus acts was driven by counties and municipalities passing “anti-circus” and “anti-elephant” ordinances. While animal rights groups have filed a number of lawsuits against Feld Entertainment alleging they mistreated their elephants, the company, nonetheless, prevailed in these suits. Feld ultimately capitulated, saying it has simply been too costly to fight such legislation. The US Humane Society, which was among many animal rights groups battling Ringling Bros. was both surprised and elated by Feld’s decision. Feld admitted that they would continue to use tigers, lions, horses, dogs and camels in what it dubbed the “Greatest Show on Earth.”

The Wildlife Advocacy Project noted that several former employees of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus have candidly revealed how circus elephants are mistreated. Many of these fine animals are “broken,” “trained” and “disciplined” with sharp metal bull hooks, and kept on chains for the better part of their lives. Even show attendees have captured the mistreatment of these intelligent animals — behind the scenes — on video when the circus first arrives. This evidence, backed by video, has compelled concerned citizens to speak out against such abuses.

According to Defenders of Wildlife, elephants form lasting family bonds and live in tight herds led by the oldest and often largest female in the herd. A herd can have as many as 100 elephants, depending on terrain and family size. When calves are born, they’re raised and protected by the entire matriarchal herd. Elephants are highly intelligent with memories that span many years. This helps them remember the locations of watering holes from years long past. Elephants are also highly emotional, expressing grief, joy, anger and play. Recently, it was discovered that elephants can communicate over great distances by producing a sub-sonic rumble that can travel along the ground faster than sound through air. Some elephants can communicate through the sensitive skin on their feet and trunks. To treat these regal, intelligent animals with anything less than total kindness and respect is cruel and insensitive.

Help save Nosey the circus elephant. She has been held alone and shipped from circus show to circus show for 24 years. Sign the petition today.

291 comments

Clare Fontenelle
Clare Fontenelle1 years ago

This news made me SO happy.

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Jayasri Amma
Jayasri Amma2 years ago

Thank you!

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Christine Jones
Christine J2 years ago

Q. What's a circus without an elephant?
A. A place where the skill and talent of willing humans entertains you, instead of the forced, unnatural cruelty of exploiting wild animals. A place consistent with 21st century values. A place that might be fun instead of disgusting.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

What's a circus without an elephant?

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Christine Jones
Christine J2 years ago

Very good news, and this will be the way of the future I'm sure. Next, tigers.

Petition for poor dear Nosey signed gladly. Would be great to hear some happy news about her at long last. Fingers crossed.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the useful information.

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Debbie Hartman
DEBORAH Hartman2 years ago

thanks

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Adrienne L.
Adrienne L2 years ago

thanks

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Warren Webber
Warren Webber2 years ago

Live long and prosper!

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