Elephants phased out of circus by 2018 - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Elephants phased out of circus by 2018

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are in town this weekend, just after announcing they will phase out elephants by 2018. (FOX19 NOW/file) Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are in town this weekend, just after announcing they will phase out elephants by 2018. (FOX19 NOW/file)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are in town this weekend after announcing one of the show's main acts will be phased
out.

For 145 years, the elephants have been a big part of the circus. But they will be retired by 2018.

The decision wasn't an easy one.  Circus officials say they didn't make the decision based on animal rights activists groups.  

Stephen Payne, vice president of corporate communications for Feld Entertainment, Inc , Ringling's parent company, said the decision was based on the preservation of the Asian elephant and a way to bring new experiences to the audience.  

Several animal rights activists groups are accusing the circus of animal abuse, but Payne disputes that. The circus takes very good care of all of its animals, he said.

 Animal activists are wondering why 2018 and not now.  

Payne tells FOX19 NOW the relocation of the herd from live entertainment involves extensive preparation, planning, training and construction.  

The circus has a plan in place to achieve this timeline.  As for the other animal acts, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey says the animals have been a part of the show for 145 years and will continue to play an important role in the show.  

The circus says they care deeply for all of the animals and believe they will continue to provide excellent care for them as part of a traveling circus.  

As for the elephants, they will move to the 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida.

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