Earlier this week Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that they would phase out using elephants in its circuses. The elephant, an iconic symbol of the American circus, also has long been a symbol for the cruelty and mistreatment of all circus and other performance animals. Citing changing public attitudes and financial concerns, the parent company, Feld Entertainment, said the animals would be phased out and retired to farms by 2018.
The New York Times reported: Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said attitudes have changed as people learn more about the animals and their treatment. “These are complex, intelligent animals, and this is a lousy, lousy, dirty, cruel business, and people see that,” Ms. Newkirk said. “This was purely a business decision.”
Animal rights groups have lauded the decision although many express regret that it won’t happen faster than the company’s projected date of 2018. Still, activists and animal lovers can put this one in the win column!