Tag Archives: asian elephant

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!

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Elephant lovers call to action, can you spare a few clicks?

11 Mar

We’ve come a long way since the 1800’s, right? When I say we, I mean most of the world. A rather disturbing exception would be traveling circuses that still use performing elephants, and other endangered species. Not much research was done on elephant behavior back in the 1800’s, so the ignorance can be forgiven. It can’t be forgiven today, and it is beyond ignorance at this point. It’s more like deliberate denial of the facts for the sake of a dollar. Sadly, it’s the animals that are living with the consequences.

It’s common knowledge now that elephants are social animals, require miles to roam to stay healthy and display true emotions very similar to human beings. And lets not forget, that an elephant never forgets. The life of a circus elephant is in contrast to it’s natural purpose. They’re beaten, confined, separated, restricted from exercise, demeaned, humiliated, forced to perform a grueling schedule and forced to work when they’re ill. Studies have proven that the life of a circus elephant is about half of what it should be. The psychological damage that is done is permanent for the rest of the elephant’s life.

Bob Barker in Support of H.R. 3359. Courtesy ADI

It doesn’t have to be this way. Animal Defenders International introduced the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, H.R. 3359 to amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses and traveling exhibitions. The bill was introduced by Congressman James Moran (D-VA) and needs additional congressional support. It’s specifically targeted at ending the use of exotic wild animals in traveling circus acts. It will not affect zoos, rodeos or permanent animal shows.

Please, contact your member of congress today and urge him/her to support and co-sponsor HR 3359, the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act. It’s very simple and only takes a moment. Everything you need, talking points and sample letters, are right here on this action page.

And If the circus is coming to your town, don’t go!

Still need a reason to help out?
Take a look at this PETA investigation in the Ringling Bros circus abuse of elephants. In November 2011 Ringling was fined by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) $270,000 for violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the largest fine in history. Ringling has a history of fines with the USDA yet continually denies the allegations. Undercover investigations and whistle blowers have proved otherwise:

Mother Jones found in a year-long investigation that the USDA has conducted over a dozen investigations of Ringling Bros (Feld Entertainment), and yet regulators have not acted on their findings of abuse. A former head of the animal care unit in the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said that with a limited budget, the agency was unable to prosecute many cases.

Again, please take a moment to write your representative in Congress. Detail information on the bill:

http://www.breakthechainus.com

http://www.federalcircusbill.com

Connie and Shaba arrive at the San Diego Zoo

6 Mar

Connie, (an Asian elephant), and Shaba, (an African elephant) have been together for over 30 years at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, AZ and have recently been moved to the Elephant Odyssey at the San Diego Zoo. The move didn’t come easy, however. Originally the zoo had plans to separate the two elephants, since Connie is an Asian elephant she was headed to San Diego and Shaba was to remain with the African herd in Tucson. But after weeks of public outcry not to separate the two, which included the support of Bob Barker, the city council agreed to keep the girls together. So they packed up their trunks and moved to San Diego!

Proof once again, that voices can be heard. If it wasn’t for ele lovers standing up for these two, they would have suffered a traumatic loss from their separation.  There are very few places on earth that you will find Asian and African elephants together, as they are actually different species. So the challenge was heavy, but San Diego currently does have the two together and fully expect Connie and Shaba to gravitate towards their own species. Hopefully, things will go smooth.

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