America's Largest Circus Company Are Retiring All Of Their Elephants From Tour

12/1/2016

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circusannounced yesterday that they areretiring all of their touring elephants in May, a year and a half earlier than expected. The circus company is the largest one in America and advertised as"The Greatest Show on Earth."

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Source: @inhabitatThe decision has been taken following increasing criticism over performing elephants with local governments passing "anti-circus" and "anti-elephant" by-lawsin response to concerns over animal cruelty. Furthermore, as more spectators realise the cruelty of the show, audiences have started to dwindle.The iconic elephants will be permanently moved to a 200-acre conservation center, The Center for Elephant Conservation, located between Orlando and Tampa. Once they have settled in their new environment, Ringling announced that they will be used in a breeding program, and studied to benefit cancer research.

Bathtime? More like party time! Just ask these elephants.Posted by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation on Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Previously, the company announced in March 2015 that it would retire the full herd to the center by 2018. But now, eleven elephants will move to the conservation center permanently, bringing the herd at the center to 42.A welcome change to the 18,000 miles they travel a year on the circus tour, performing across multiple cities, and gettingchained up on long train rides.

But the "conservation centre" is not what it seems...

The sad truth is that the conservations centre may not be the safe haven the elephants hope for. Rather, it's at the Florida conservation centre that baby elephants are torn from their mothers and restrained by chains and ropes for over a year - just the first stage of their training.

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Source: @WashingtonPost

Indeed, a former elephant trainer for Ringling Bros. SamHaddock, regretted his career choice after experiencing first-hand what goes on during the torturous training. He contacted PETA, describing the violence and unimaginable cruelty inflicted on baby elephants and providedshocking photos to prove it.

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Source: @WashingtonPost

PETAhave also announced their concerns for these soon-to-be "retired" elephants:

Elephants will no doubt still be chained on a daily basis, be forced to breed, be deprived of opportunities to interact and socialize normally, and continue to live in fear of being hit with bullhooks.

A safer haven?

Unlike the Ringling "centre", theElephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, is an actual sanctuary where the animalsare left to exist free of unnecessary human contact. It is much more like their natural habitat and they can even in wallow in the mud!The sanctuary's director of elephant care, Margaret Whittaker, told The Dodothat her facility would be willing to take in theRingling's elephants in order to offer them the life of peace that they sodeserve.

African #elephant Hadari has discovered the mud wallows in her habitat! Watch video here: http://bit.ly/1PyZxzhPosted by The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee on Saturday, 17 October 2015

It would be fantastic to see the Ringling elephants in this sanctuary, but whether it would ever happen is uncertain.Whatever happens, pulling their elephants from the Ringling Circus touris definitely progress, but theseelephants should be taken to propersanctuaries. And Ringling should be putting an end toall their animal acts.

Featured image: @SourceFed

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