Ringling Bros Announces the Retirement of All Their Performing Elephants

5 Mar
Ringlings Elephants

Ringling’s Elephants

The surprise announcement today by Feld Entertainment to the Associated Press to phase out the elephant acts in the Ringling Bros Circus was HUGE. First and foremost, for the elephants. In the next three years they’ll all retire as a herd to Feld’s Elephant Conservation Center located in Central Florida, where they already have 29 elephants. The company has cited growing pressure from activists as one of the reasons for the decision, stating that the money they’ve spent to defend themselves and fight legislation could go towards taking care of the elephant’s retirement instead. They’ve recognized that the elephants are aging, and that public scrutiny can no longer be ignored. Feld also stated that since multiples towns and counties across the country have ordinances against bullhooks and wild performing animals, it’s increasingly difficult to organize its Ringling tours.

So, is it possible that the Feld family actually does care about elephants? I can only hope that the Ringling elephants aren’t eventually forced to perform at the “conservation” center, which Feld would like to ultimately open to the public. With the announcement today though, they have the potential to encourage other circuses with performing elephants to retire their elephants as well. The smaller shows don’t have a ready-made conservation center to send their elephants to, but there are two fine sanctuaries in the USA that may be interested in helping. Feld’s decision sends a powerful message, the mindset is surely changing. Thanks also in part to the HBO documentary “Apology to Elephants”, which could be compared to “Blackfish” about captive whales at SeaWorld.

For now though, this is a major win for the elephants. It’s also a win for all the people that have helped make this happen. Activism works. Ringling acknowledges that the protests are at every show, they’re growing larger, and have affected ticket sales. Public perception is changing. Activism is the reason for the bullhook bans and performing wild animals ordinances, it’s the reason for the lawsuits, and it’s the reason public perception is indeed changing. PETA has certainly played a major role as well, as they’ve been investigating and protesting Ringling Bros for 35 years. But average people like me that have a passion for elephants have also helped make a difference. This win is for me, and for all the people that stood for hours at a protest, signed a petition, wrote letters and emails, called legislators, attended council meetings, spread awareness on social media, passed out flyers, and did anything they could to inform and educate the truth about circus elephants. Today, we celebrate. CONGRATULATIONS and Thank You!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: