Elephants in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will perform for the last time on Sunday May 1, 2016. The circus is in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, at the Mohegan Sun Arena from now until May 1 and they will retire the elephants from their circus after the run of this show.
Last Chance for Animals deserves the credit for the decision made by the circus to stop the use of elephants in their acts and they will be out in full-force on May 1, protesting the use of elephants in all circuses across the globe. They urge folks to join them in this protest. They will hold a protest out in front of the arena where the elephants will give their last show.
This is a victory for elephants, which have been part of circus acts for as long as there have been a circus. Caged up traveling from town to town and city to city is not the life these majestic animals should lead.
While their treatment has gotten better in recent years, it is still a heartbreaking life for these intelligent wild animals. Kudos to Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus for making this huge move away from elephant acts. Double kudos to Last Chance for Animals to bringing it to this point!
According to The Providence Journal on April 27, the removal of elephants from the circus is in response “to a movement, led by animal-rights activists, that has changed public attitudes toward performing animals.” So what does the circus have to say about the elephants retiring?
Stephen Payne, vice president of corporate communications for Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Bros said: “Like any form of live entertainment, we have to evolve. The only constant now really is change.”
Chris DeRose, who is the founder of Last Chance for Animals, which is an international group, is asking people to join in on their protest on May 1. This protest is up against some obstacles as the only place they will be able to hold this protest is in an area that is not within the eye-shot of the public, reports The Citizen’s Voice.
Silvie Pomicter of Chinchilla, who is a member of Last Chance for Animals group, recently filed a federal lawsuit “claiming the arena imposes unconstitutional protest restrictions on demonstrators,” according to Citizen’s voice. She is looking to a judge to grant an emergency injunction to these restrictions prior to the circus protest.
The lawsuit claims “protesters are limited to a fenced in area of the arena’s parking lot where hardly anyone could see them, they are not allowed to use bullhorns, and have previously been warned any signs “considered to be offensive by the facility” will be removed.”
The video above shows how people all around this world are recognizing elephants do not belong in a circus. While the U.S. has laws regarding the treatment of captive animals, many other countries do not. Above is an elephant who spent 50 years in chains while performing with a circus and was finally saved by a group working on the other side of the world rescuing circus elephants. The elephant looks rather happy!
Matthew Wittman, who is the author of “Circus and the City: New York, 1793-2010” and curator of the Harvard Theatre Collection, said that Ringling Bros. ending the elephant acts is the circus adapting to cultural change. Wittman said:
“The moment for elephants has passed,” he said. “It’s the same reason SeaWorld is retiring the orcas. There’s a trend in American culture that watching exotic animals for entertainment is no longer a good thing.”