If the elephants were your favorite part of the circus, now would be a good time to take a shine to the trapeze.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will retire its elephant acts in May—a year and a half before the company originally said it would. The 11
elephants currently touring will join hordes of baby boomers and elderly in sunny Florida for retirement.
The @RinglingBros Twitter account shared the announcement in a series of tweets:
Managers for the account have also been retweeting publishers that share its news.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s parent company, Feld Entertainment, owns the 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida, where
the elephants will live out the rest of their days with the other 29 elephants already living there.
Though one would hope that the decision comes from a place of compassion for these animals that would certainly prefer to roam free rather than be held
captive and forced to do parlor tricks to earn their dinner, Ringling Bro.’s move was financially motivated.
Last year, Feld Entertainment’s CEO, Kenneth Feld, said that fighting local legislation around the country that prevents exotic animals from performing has
That statement was given despite Feld Entertainment winning $25.2 million in lawsuits against several animal-rights groups that erroneously claimed that
the circus mistreated its elephants.
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Several animal rights activists and organizations considered the announcement a victory:
The elephants will be part of DNA research at the conservation center that could provide clues as to why elephants more cancer
resistant than humans.
"There's so much to be learned from their DNA," Feld said.