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Ringling Taking Elephants off the Road Early

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Posted January 11, 2016 by Kim Johnson

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus says that it will pull elephants off the road in May18 months earlier than previously announced! 

ringling protest collage

It became clear long ago that the public does not support abusive elephant acts, and several cities have taken steps to prevent the abuse, so it’s no surprise that Ringling has decided to take the eles off the road early.

Years of living in shackles on concrete floors and being transported all over the country in cramped boxcars have left many elephants injured and sick.

Circus Elephants Lined Up

Ringling Bros. trainers drag babies away from their mothers. For up to 23 hours a day, the babies’ legs are tethered so that all they can do is stand in one spot on a concrete floor. They aren’t provided with meaningful mental or physical stimulation, and they can’t lie down, stretch their legs, or even turn around.

As a study released just days ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms, elephants can transmit tuberculosis to humans, yet Ringling has carted tuberculosis-positive elephants from town to town. 

elephant boxcar circus

Elephants are forced to travel in boxcars for up to 100 hours straight. Many of the elephants owned by Ringling have tested positive for a serious disease called tuberculosis, which can be passed on to humans.

Although it’s great news that Ringling is ending its elephant acts, we must keep the pressure on the circus to retire the elephants to accredited sanctuaries, NOT to the Ringling-owned, misleadingly named “Center for Elephant Conservation” (CEC).

Elephant with Bullhook

At the CEC (Ringling’s breeding facility), babies cry out, but there is NO ONE there to help them. Elephant training at Ringling is not monitored by any agency of any kind.

At the CEC, the “retired” elephants will 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 by trainers with bullhooks—sharp metal-tipped weapons that trainers use to control elephants. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the CEC is also teeming with tuberculosis. It’s the “facility with the highest incidence of tuberculosis in their elephants,” and it has been the subject of a series of government-mandated quarantines as a result.

baby elephant training on stool

During a training exercise at the CEC, baby Riccardo fell off a pedestal—like the one pictured here—and shattered his hind legs. The damage to his legs could not be treated, and veterinarians euthanized him. Ringling trainers continue to force baby elephants to perform confusing and painful tricks like this one, even though their abusive training tactics have caused the deaths of four babies.

Help the eles now! Don’t let the circus sentence the “retired” elephants to a lifetime of confinement at the CEC. Urge Ringling to send the elephants to an accredited sanctuary where they can finally be free of chains.

Tell Ringling to Send the Elephants to a True Sanctuary!

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