Ringling Removes Elephants

Alex Castillo, Copy Editor

The Ringling Brothers Circus announced they would be removing all elephants involved in their show on May 1 in response to public cries against accusations of animal abuse by the Ringling Brothers Circus. This animal support charge by the public is fronted by an animal rights organization, PETA.


The elephants had been performing in the Ringling Brothers Circus for decades until their final act in Providence, Rhode Island. Feld Entertainment, the owners of the circus had previously announced that the company would remove the elephants and send them to a Florida reserve by 2018, however pressure from animal rights groups expedited the process.


“I believe the elephants should be removed from the circus,” Zach Young, 11, an animal rights activist, said. “Animal rights are a huge issue to me. I have lots of animals at home and they’re my family.”


The elephants made sure to make an extravagant display of their final show. They paraded the stage with lights dancing around them as massive, heavy drums resounded throughout the stadium. As the gray giants made their way off the stage, nostalgia came flooding over older members in the audience that grew up with the circus.


Solymar Lopez, a Downey resident, voices her concerns as an animal activist.


“It breaks my heart to see these elephants in the parade and how the trainers treat them,” Lopez said. “I’m happy now though, because the elephants are finally safe and in a good home.”


In 2011, Feld Entertainment was fined a total of $270,000 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in violation of the Animal Welfare Act. The company addressed this accusation not with an admittance to any illegal activity, but with promises to re-train animal handlers in the circus. Another indicator of suspicious activity from the Ringling Brothers Circus comes in the form of the retaining of the lions, tigers, and other animals despite the removal of the elephants.


Jennifer Lopez, 10, finds an issue with the circus’s removal of specifically just the elephant performers.


“If the circus was actually any good they wouldn’t need to use any kind of animals,” Lopez said. “It’s infuriating that the circus is removing only the elephants. What about the other animals that want to be free too?”


A grand total of 42 elephants have been released from the circus and are now relocated in a Florida conservation center. The Ringling Brothers Circus continues to tour 115 cities annually across the United States, elephant-free.