This Sunday will be the last performance of ten circus elephants that perform for The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The circus company is retiring the pachyderms two years earlier than expected. The animals will be sent to a Florida conservation center.
It's the end of an era for The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Elephants have been a major draw to the circus for the last 200 years. Other animals will remain a part of the act.
According to the Humane Society there are twelve other smaller circus operators throughout the country that still use elephants as part of their act, but the practice is becoming more uncommon. Animal rights activist argue it's cruel. But fans and circus operators say the elephants are given the best of care. In addition to being treated well, the elephants provide fun and entertainment to circus goers in a safe environment that keeps them free from predators or want. Proponents also tend to cite the fact that performance elephants tend to have longer lives than zoo elephants and argue their lives are enriched through performance.