Ringling Gives Rights to Elephants, Retiring Them to a Sanctuary

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey have finally announced intentions to retire their elephants from their circus act.

If you haven’t noticed, I love elephants (Relephant Matters, yup that was the first hint). So, this news has me smiling like a complete clown.

P.T. Barnum bought his first elephant in 1892 for “The Greatest Show on Earth” which featured the oldest woman, the mermaid, the world’s largest man and so much more. Now, the circus is home to 43 Asian elephants. The creatures that average 9 feet tall and 4 short tons are transported in trucks and trains only to arrive at a show where elephant trainers often instruct the animals using chains, whips and bullhooks that hook into the animals’ skin. Rhode Island was the first state to ban the use of this tool. Oakland and Los Angeles, California have also restricted the use of bullhooks.

This decision has been a long time coming and still has a long time to go. The circus elephants will continue working until their retirement in 2018. At that time, they will be sent to a 200-acre sanctuary in Florida that is currently being prepared for them.


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