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Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus retire their elephants

Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus retire their elephants

The 145-year American spectacle of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants performing for the public is finished now that the company has retired its elephants once and for all, as Reuters reports.

They are still used in other circuses in the USA, but in recent years animal rights campaigners have thrown a spotlight on the welfare of these and other animals in the entertainment industry. "At the CEC, our team of dedicated biologists, researchers and elephants caretakers will welcome the rest of the herd with open arms and a horizon full of new opportunities as we strive toward a world with more elephants and less cancer", read a message on the center's website.

Take a bow: Elephants perform their final show. They're super great and everyone loves events that involve them, but deep down, you know they're made of some super shady stuff.

In January, I wrote that the next time the circus comes to town, the elephants wouldn't be here.

Austin already had outlawed the use of a bull hook on elephants past year. Ringling Bros. will retire them to its Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida, which for years stood as the headquarters of the circus' breeding efforts and questionable training programs, instead of an accredited sanctuary.

There, the former stage performers will roam, hang out and play with an assortment of toys, balls and even massive truck tires leftover from Feld Entertainment's Monster Jam events. "Thank you so much for so many years of joy". Elephants rarely develop cancer.

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Ringling had planned to phase out its elephants by 2018, but in January it sped up the process. It's a big move in the direction of animal protection.

The last of Ringling Bros. "We believe it's necessary in working with them and interacting with them".

The elephants may be gone, but other animals will stay put. "Elephants don't want to stand on their heads (and) tigers don't want to jump through hoops". Ringling will continue to use animals, Feld said. In a statement, the Humane Society said, elephants in circuses are often "denied the stimulation and social relationships they'd experience in the wild".

It's hard to put a number on the remaining circuses that use elephants, Pacelle said. For its part, Ringling Bros. has maintained that these practices are humane, and in place for the safety of the trainers.

But several animal rights groups repeatedly criticized, picketed and sued Ringling Bros. for its treatment of the animals.

The theme will be outer space, Alana Feld said during the live broadcast, featuring for the first time an incorporated storyline.

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