As of 2018, elephants will no longer be used in performances by The Ringling Bros., owned by Feld Entertainment. For decades, advocates across North America have petitioned and protested the travelling circus for their use of elephants – and the implied hardships facing those beautiful mammals.
"This decision was not easy, but it is in the best interest of our company, our elephants and our customers," said Feld Entertainment CEO Kenneth Feld.
In their coverage, NBC News noted that several animal rights groups have filed lawsuits against Feld Entertainment, alleging mistreatment of their elephants. But Feld walked away the winner – with millions in their pockets.
What was most effective, it seems, is the municipal by-laws being created prohibiting elephant acts in performances within their jurisdictions.
Coupled with ongoing education and positive public outreach, Feld Entertainment was backed into a corner and had little choice but to phase out the use of elephants.
This is a victory not only for the elephants who have been forced into performing for generations, but for animals everywhere. It shows that people, when shown the truth about animals, realize that we can and should do better for them. It shows that in the big picture, advocacy works.
What it truly shows is that the public is willing to listen and do the right thing. And there’s no greater feeling for animal advocates than that of hope.
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