"Elephants to Retire From Ringling Brothers Stage"

"In the 133 years since P. T. Barnum bought his first one, no animal has been so closely identified with the circus as the elephant, starring under the big top, adorning posters and ritually announcing the circus’s arrival with a gawk-worthy parade into town — in the case of New York, through the Midtown Tunnel.

But after decades of animal rights activists claiming that it treats the giant creatures cruelly, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey announced Thursday that its three touring circuses, performing 1,000 shows a year, would phase out elephant acts by 2018.

“It’s pretty remarkable, since they’ve been fighting this fight for so long, and for over a century the icon of the American circus was the elephant,” said Matthew Wittmann, a historian and author of “Circus and the City: New York, 1793-2010,” who has advocated ending the use of elephants. “The view Ringling always propagated was that you can’t have the circus without the elephants, but the global success of Cirque du Soleil shows that you don’t need to have animals of any kind to have a circus.”"

Richard Pérez-Peña reports for the New York Times March 5, 2015.


"Ringling Bros. Says Circuses To Be Elephant-Free in 3 Years" (AP)


Source: NY Times, 03/06/2015