This morning, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that it would begin a three-year phase-out of its elephant acts—citing a “mood shift” among consumers as the reason for the decision.
Here’s PETA’s statement:
For 35 years, PETA has protested Ringling Bros.’ cruelty to elephants. PETA also caught Ringling’s abuse on video and released photos of its violent baby-elephant training for the world to see. We know that extreme abuse of these majestic animals occurs every single day, so if Ringling is really telling the truth about ending this horror, it will be a day to pop the champagne corks and rejoice. However, many of the elephants are painfully arthritic and many have tuberculosis, so their retirement needs to happen now. Three years is too long for a mother elephant separated from her calf, too long for a baby elephant beaten with the sharp fireplace poker–like weapons called “bullhooks” that Ringling handlers routinely use, and too long for an animal who would roam up to 30 miles a day in the wild but is instead kept in shackles. If the circus is serious, then it needs to retire the elephants NOW.
—Delcianna Winders, Deputy General Counsel, Captive Animal Law Enforcement, PETA Foundation
So although we applaud this news and rejoice that suffering elephants now have a light at the end of a dark, century-long tunnel, we can’t put down our protest signs just yet—not until the last of God’s majestic animals are taken off the road and allowed to live out the rest of their lives in peace with their families.
Learn more about how you can help animals in circuses here.