The 14 elephants that are currently performing with the Ringling Brothers recently received some great news, by 2018 they will join other elephants on a 200 acre elephant conservation in Florida.
Feld Entertainment, the parent company of the circus called this decision “unprecedented” after they made an announcement last week that all performances involving the elephants will be phased out by 2018. This decision was based off of growing public concern for how the animals are treated in circus acts.
In a statement, Kenneth Feld -Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment -said: “This is the most significant change we have made since we founded the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in 1995. When we did so, we knew we would play a critical role in saving the endangered Asian elephants for future generations, given how few Asian elephants are left in the wild… This decision was not easy, but it is in the best interest of our company, our elephants and our customers.”
For many consumers this decision is a bittersweet feeling. The elephants have been hugely popular in this travelling circus and many remember seeing the elephant performances as children and then taking their own to see them as well, but as Alana Feld, executive vice president for Feld Entertainment, says, “There’s been somewhat of a mood shift over our consumers, a lot of people aren’t comfortable with us touring with our elephants.”
And she is right. As scientists have been learning more about elephants, they are finding that they, aside from being extremely strong and intelligent creatures, are also a highly social animal that is capable of problem solving, grief and empathy. With this awareness becoming more popular, people are seeing this treatment of animals in the travelling circus as inhumane, as these animals spend the majority of their lives in chains or on trains.
Taking this into consideration you may be interested in reading a related CE article: This Is Why You Should Not Ride Elephants In Thailand. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, there are only an estimated 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild, which puts this species on the list of endangered species.
Times Are Changing
Seeing this story made me incredibly happy, not only because I’m an advocate for animal welfare, but also because this story shows the direct positive impact that we, as consumers, can make on the planet if we come together and demand change. If you don’t like something, don’t support it. Spread the word, write a letter to the company, inform people, come together, vote with your dollars.
We tend to give up our power way too easily, we assume that we can’t make a difference in this world, so we don’t try. But as John F. Kennedy once said, “One person can make a difference in this world, and everyone should try.” You have to start somewhere, if everyone always just thought that nothing could change and things would always be the same then women who showed enjoyment while having sex would still be burned at the stake, African Americans would still be slaves, and there would be no gay rights. Stand up for what you believe in, you might be surprised with what comes of it, you’d be surprised with how many people have the same beliefs as you but just didn’t say anything. Speak up, speak your truth.
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