(CIRCUS ELEPHANTS/ANIMAL WELFARE) Today, America’s best-known circus Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey announced plans to phase out elephants from its performances by 2018.

With consumers now so alert to animal welfare issues, the circus’ parent company, Feld Entertainment, made the shocking decision in response to mounting public pressure and constantly changing regulations involving “anti-circus” and “anti-elephant” ordinances.

For 35 years, animal activists have protested Ringling’s cruelty to elephants, and many are referring to the groundbreaking move as a Berlin Wall moment for animal protection. But unfortunately, the company will continue showcasing tigers, lions, horses, dogs and camels in its acts.

Continue reading to learn more about the company’s reasons for the decision, as well as their plans to retire the iconic elephants at the Center for Elephant Conservation in Central Florida. — Global Animal

Ringling Brothers
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus plans to end its century-old tradition of showcasing elephants.

The Associated Press via The New York Times

POLK CITY, Fla. — The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus will phase out the show’s iconic elephants from its performances by 2018, saying that a growing public concern about how the animals are treated led to the decision.

Executives at Feld Entertainment, Ringling’s parent company, said that the decision to end the circus’s century-old tradition of showcasing elephants had been difficult and that it had been debated at length. Elephants have often been featured on Ringling’s posters over the decades. The decision is being announced Thursday.

”There’s been somewhat of a mood shift among our consumers,” the company’s executive vice president, Alana Feld, said. “A lot of people aren’t comfortable with us touring with our elephants.”

Feld owns 43 elephants, and 29 of them live at the company’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in Central Florida. Thirteen animals will continue to tour with the circus before retiring to the center by 2018. One elephant is on a breeding loan to the Fort Worth Zoo.

Another reason for the decision, the company president Kenneth Feld said, was that some cities and counties have passed “anti-circus” and “anti-elephant” ordinances. The company’s three shows visit 115 cities throughout the year, and Mr. Feld said it was expensive to fight legislation in each jurisdiction. It is also difficult to plan tours amid constantly changing regulations, he said.

Read the full NY Times article, here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/06/us/ringling-brothers-circus-dropping-elephants-from-act.html