Feld Entertainment Plans to Phase Out Ringling Bros. Elephants

Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus will no longer use elephants in performances after 2018.

Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus will no longer use elephants in performances after 2018.

According to a recent article, Feld Entertainment has decided to phase out the use of elephants in performances by their famous subsidiary, Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. For decades, Ringling Bros. has reaped a profit by carting Asian elephants across the United States to perform tricks for paying crowds. Over time, animal welfare advocates and ordinary citizens alike have harbored growing doubts about the quality of life for the majestic, intelligent, and social wild animals used by the circus – leading many to forego the circus altogether. In recent years, the public has also become more aware of Ringling Bros’. use of the bullhook, a weapon-like metal rod equipped with a curved hook at one end designed specifically for use on elephants. Described as a “training tool” by Ringling Bros., the bullhook is used to strike and prod elephants into submission. Many audiences do not consider these practices consistent with the circus’ claim to be “fun for the whole family,” and over the years, many families, venues, and entire cities have turned away from the circus. In response to increasing public awareness, Feld Entertainment has finally made the decision to phase out elephant performers over the next three years. However, Ringling Bros. has not announced plans to retire the company’s tigers, lions, or other exotic animals.

Take Action: Make the commitment to only patronize human-centered entertainment acts. Contact Feld Entertainment to express your support of their decision to retire the company’s performing elephants and urge them to grant similar relief to Ringling Bros.’s other animal performers.

Feld Entertainment Worldwide Headquarters
2001 US Highway 301
Palmetto, FL 34221
(941) 721-1200

USDA Orders Pittsburgh Zoo to Stop Using Dogs to Control Elephants

elephant (15)pawsupPaws Up!

To the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for enforcing humane handling of captive elephants.

According to a recent news article, USDA inspectors visited the Pittsburgh Zoo in January 2015. During the visit, a zoo manager was asked to demonstrate how the zoo uses Australian cattle dogs to control the zoo’s elephants. After the inspector observed an elephant’s distressed reaction to one of the dogs, the USDA issued a report with specific orders stating that the zoo must control the elephants without causing them behavioral stress. The zoo was ordered change “from this point forward” in regard to employing cattle dogs to control elephants.

Take Action: When viewing wildlife, support reputable wildlife sanctuaries and visit parks and refuges where animals can be seen in their natural habitats.

Bullhooks Banned in Oakland

pawsupPaws Up! To the city of Oakland, California, for banning the use of bull hooks on elephants.

Bullhooks are often used to force wild animals such as elephants into performing unnatural tricks.

Bullhooks are often used to force wild animals such as elephants into performing unnatural tricks.

According to a recent news story, the Oakland City Council in California has banned the use of bullhooks on elephants. A bullhook, or ankus, is a steel rod with a hook at one end used to control elephants for circus performances. The hooks are designed to stab and pull elephants. The ban was passed even though representatives from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus previously threatened to skip Oakland during their U.S. tour if the ordinance was adopted. Los Angeles recently adopted a similar ban and other cities such as Richmond, Virginia, are considering banning the use of bull hooks on elephants. Take Action: Citizens of Oakland, California, contact the council member in your district to convey your support of the new law banning the use of bullhooks on elephants.

Protect Traveling Animals

A new bill would require circuses to offer performing animals rest after extended travel.

A new bill would require circuses to provide animals with rest after a period of extended travel.

HR 4525 , the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, addresses the issue of exotic and wild, non-domesticated animals who are forced to travel to various venues to be put on display for the paying public.

Exotic and wild, non-domesticated animals required to travel to multiple venues need time to adjust before going on display. Traveling circuses and exhibitions often move weekly to new locations causing much distress and suffering to the animals. Then the animals are required to be on display almost as soon as they arrive at the next location. The bill would prohibit exhibitors from immediately showing exotic or wild, non-domesticated animals if they have been travelling during the preceding 15-day period. This is the least we can do to protect those animals who are moved around the country to be put on display.

Contact your representative and ask him or her to support HR 4525.

When you think about it…elephants belong in the wild, not the streets of St. Louis.

Elephants deserve a long life in the wild.

Elephants deserve a long life in the wild.

Why are elephants wandering a parking  lot in St. Louis? Why are elephants in St. Louis, period? Their natural habitat is far from an urban setting. Yet, we find elephants, lions, tigers, and other wild and exotic animals performing in circuses in a variety of cities starting now and going through the late fall.

Circus animals  do not have a good life. They may travel many miles in railcars that can become overheated in the summer. They are kept caged or shackled unless they are performing or are being trained to perform. They are separated from members of their own families and often members of their own species. They are living in climates that do not even closely replicate their natural one. Basically, they are slaves to their trainers and owners who want nothing more than to make a buck off their backs. But these are living, breathing, sentient beings with minds of their own and sometimes they object and find a way to escape.

In the case of the St. Louis elephants, they were quickly corralled and were not made to perform the Saturday show. They should get every show off as should all wild and exotic animals who find themselves in the circus. For when you think about it…elephants belong in the wild, not the streets of St. Louis or any other city.


Ivory Bites the Dust


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service destroyed 6 tons of ivory in response to illegal poaching of elephants.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service destroyed over 6 tons of ivory in response to poaching of elephants.

Paws Up!
To the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for destroying stockpiles of confiscated ivory.

A recent news story confirmed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “destroyed more than 6 tons of confiscated ivory tusks, carvings and jewelry….”

According to the story, “poachers killed 32,000 elephants last year.” As long as there are illegal markets for ivory, elephants will continue to die. With less than half a million elephants left in Africa and Asia combined, the more we can do to stop illegal sales of ivory, the more we will be able to help save the lives of the largest land mammal.

Take Action: Thank the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for sending a message to traders in illegal ivory. Additionally, never buy products made in whole or in part with ivory.

Dan Ashe, Director
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Elephants Safe in LA



The use of bullhooks on circus elephants is now prohibited in the city of Los Angeles.

Paws Up!
To the Los Angeles City Council for banning the use of bullhooks on circus elephants.

The Los Angeles City Council “voted unanimously to prohibit the use of ankus or bullhooks, which is a tool used by animal trainers at circuses to keep large elephants in line, starting in 2017.”

Bullhooks are inhumane tools of the circus trade and need to be outlawed across the country. But bullhooks are really only one part of the problem. Circuses in general are abusive to animals. Learn more about the degradation animals experience in circuses and roadside shows.

Take Action: California residents, thank the leaders in Los Angeles for taking a stand to protect elephants in circuses. If you live outside LA, let your council members know you want them to follow Los Angeles’s lead. And never, never support a circus that promotes animal shows.

Herb Wesson, President
Mitchell Englander, President Pro Tempore
Los Angeles City Council
City Hall
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012


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