Success: Ringling Brothers to Eliminate Elephant Acts


Target: Kenneth Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment

Goal: Thank Ringling Bros. for eliminating elephants from their acts.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus will soon be eliminating elephants from their acts. This action comes amid outcry from animal welfare organizations, including our friends here at ForceChange, who have accused traveling circuses of being cruel to their animals. According to a report in NBC news, the elephants will be relocated to a conservation center in Florida by 2018. The CEO of the company that runs the circus, Kenneth Feld, says that this is the biggest change they have made to the organization since 1995, when they founded the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation.

Many have questioned the ethics of forcing a group of elephants to perform stunts in front of a live audience. Some have even accused the circus of being downright abusive toward the elephants, prodding them with painful bullhooks, an issue that has also been covered on ForceChange. It is widely known that elephants are highly intelligent creatures. According to an article in Scientific American, “They are adept tool users and cooperative problem solvers; they are highly empathic, comforting one another when upset; and they probably do have a sense of self.” The decision of Ringling Bros. to end the exploitation of these animals should be commended.

Please sign this petition to thank the CEO of Feld Entertainment for making the decision to eliminate elephants from the circus shows.


Dear Mr. Feld,

I was happy to learn that Feld Entertainment will soon be eliminating elephants from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus shows. I feel that this was a good decision because it ends the exploitation of elephants in your shows. Many animal experts will tell you that elephants are extremely intelligent creatures. They have the ability to use tools and solve complex problems. Although elephants are magnificent creatures that the public should see, I worry that their use in circuses is exploitative. They should be in the wild, or at least in a zoo that mimics their natural environment, not forced to dance for the entertainment of humans.

In addition, some people have expressed concern that the elephants have been tormented by their keepers in the past. Horrific information has come to light that alleged terrible abuse of elephants in your circus. I believe that this action will help prevent frustrated zookeepers from smacking the elephants with bullhooks.

I hope that this action will set a precedent for other traveling circuses. I commend you on this decision, and I hope that you continue to make good decisions with regards to the humane treatment of your animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Benh Lieu Song via Flickr

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