Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, initially vowed to phase out its touring elephants by 2018, but recently changed their decision as more cities continue to place restrictions on housing, restraining, and transporting the animals.
While the cost of caring for the remaining 11 elephants on tour is about $65,000 per year, Feld Entertainment intends to repurpose funds towards conservation efforts and pediatric cancer research.
However, considering Ringling is retiring these elephants to a self-owned facility rather than an accredited sanctuary like Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, vigilance will be needed to determine how these elephants will be treated.
Read on to learn more about this step forward for circus elephants, and click here to sign the petition urging Ringling Bros. to end all animal acts. — Global Animal
New York Times, Christine Hauser
The days of lumbering performances by elephants under big-top tents are coming to an end sooner than planned.
Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, said in a statement on Monday that it was phasing out its Asian elephants and moving the creatures from their traveling circuses to a conservation center in Florida in May, a year and a half sooner than anticipated.
The move would bring to 40 the number of elephants at the center, the company said. The cost of caring for the 11 touring elephants is about $65,000 a year, and Feld Entertainment said it wants to use that money to focus on conservation and pediatric cancer research instead.
This is a switch from last March, when the company had said it would phase out its touring elephant units, which perform 1,000 shows a year, by 2018.
The announcement on Monday came after decades of claims by animal rights activists that the circus treated the giant creatures cruelly, including complaints about its use of long, hooked poles called bullhooks, and other methods of control.
Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, said the decision was driven by economics, not complaints, as more cities placed restrictions on housing, restraining and transporting the animals.
“Rather than fight city hall, we decided to take those resources and use them for conservation of the species,” he said in a telephone interview.
Read the full NY Times article, here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/12/us/ringling-circus-elephants-take-early-retirement