Send in the clowns, (but not the elephants). The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are going to retire their iconic elephants from the shows by 2018.
Was it pressure from animal activists, consumer mentality changes, or wasted money spent on fighting anti-elephant legislation? They told the Associated Press (AP) the pressure was mounting from all sides, but mostly it was the public.
Growing public concern about how the elephants are treated at Ringling Bros. led to the decision.
“There’s been somewhat of a mood shift among our consumers,” Alana Feld, the company’s executive vice president, told AP. “A lot of people aren’t comfortable with us touring with our elephants.”
Their biggest competitor, Canada-based Cirque du Soleil, doesn’t use wild animals.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 5, 2015
Feld owns 43 elephants, with 29 of them living at the 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida, which is owned by the company, the report said. But, 13 of those elephants are still touring with the circus and will have to wait until 2018 to finally retire to the reserve. Feld’s elephant reserve is only open to researchers and experts in the field, but she did mention they hope to open it to the public one day.
Here’s the AP news report: