Ringling Brothers Oust Elephant Acts

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The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus have announced that they are removing all elephant acts (11 Asian Elephants) from their routine in May. They originally stated that they would eliminate the acts by 2018, however they decided to move up the date after new legislation passed, which raised the difficulty of transporting and housing the animals in certain cities.

The announcement comes after years of protest against Ringling Bros. and many other circuses that use performing animals, since these animals typically spend around 96% of their lives in chains or cages. It is alleged that the elephants are kept in cruel conditions and are forced to perform. Elephants do not stand on their hind legs or balance on balls in the wild, but are compelled to do so in order to avoid methods of discipline that include the use of bullhooks, whips, and electric shock prods. It has even been said that some trainers drug the animals to make them manageable and sometimes remove the teeth and claws of others.

Feld Entertainment, the circus’s parent company, also stated that it did not take as long as expected to build the enclosures for the incoming elephants at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida. The conservation currently houses 32 elephants, not including the 11 that  will arrive in May. At the conservation, the elephants will be part of a cancer research project, since elephants do not get cancer as often as humans do, even though they are over 10 times bigger than humans. It is hoped that by studying these elephants, they can discover why elephants get cancer so rarely and imitate this process in humans.

However, as good this may be, the company said that, “the circus will continue to feature other extraordinary animal performers, including tigers, lions, horses, dogs and camels.”

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