As public outcry has demanded circuses stop using elephants in its performances due to animal cruelty, Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey have announced they will retire performing elephants beginning in May 2016.
Operating out of Florida under Feld Entertainment, the circuses were originally set to retire elephants by 2018. Feld Entertainment determined it best to phase the elephants out sooner, with 11 elephants currently touring with the circuses. In May, they will move to the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation, also located in Florida. The center is owned and operated by Feld Entertainment, and currently houses 29 retired elephants with breeding and cancer research programs.
“From now until May 2016, our elephants will continue to be a part of [the circus],” says Alana Feld, Ringling Bros. producer and executive vice president with Feld Entertainment. “We invite families that want to see our amazing elephants perform one last time to have an opportunity to do so.”
A new circus act without elephants will be unveiled in July 2016, although details of the shows have yet to be announced.
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