Ringling Bros. eliminating elephant acts; company says it will phase them out by 2018

POLK CITY, Fla. (AP) — The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its iconic elephant acts.

The circus’ parent company, Feld Entertainment, says that the acts will be phased out by 2018, citing growing public concern about the animals’ treatment.

The circus plans to phase out elephant acts by 2018. Feld’s 43 elephants will live at the company’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida. Twenty-nine animals are already there. The other 14 will arrive as they are phased out.

Elephant acts have been showcased by Ringling for more than a century.

Within two hours of Thursday’s announcement, animal rights groups took credit for the decision, saying that the pressure put on the circus ultimately led to Feld’s move.

The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said that if the decision is serious, the circus should make the move immediately.