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FOUR PAWS responds to Ringling Bros announcement to phase out circus elephants in the US

The biggest circus in the US, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, has announced that they will no longer take elephants on tour. Finally, those sensitive animals will no longer have to perform unnatural tricks, nor will they be carted around the country in small and narrow caged wagons. Circus elephants suffer through inappropriate housing and transport, neglect in enrichment, exercise and activity, and often loud and stressful environments. For the over 80 elephants with Ringling Bros., this should all be history, unfortunately, only by 2018. We hope it will not be too late for the old and sick elephants, of which some already suffer from severe behavior disorders.


For nearly 100 years, the Ringling Bros. have included elephants as integral attraction in their performances. According to the circus, the reason for phasing out these acts is the growing public concern about how the animals are treated. Circus acts with wild animals also face a lot of criticism in Germany where FOUR PAWS continues to call for an EU-wide ban on wild animals in circuses and other regulations on ownership of wild animals. Since 2011, ten elephants have had to die too early in German circuses, or have had to be put down because of health issues. According to a recent survey, two third of the German population do not approve of how wild animals are kept in circuses.


FOUR PAWS knows the American public is not too far behind. “Big cats, elephants and apes in circuses are taught from a young age that life is pain,” Wim Dekok, Executive Director of FOUR PAWS USA, said in responds to the Ringling Bros. announcement. “Solitary animals like a tiger may be penned up together while highly social animals like elephants are kept alone-chained up for hours on end-while they are not needed on stage. Most people know this is not right. FOUR PAWS is encouraged by this announcement and hope it is not too late.”


FOUR PAWS is an international animal welfare organization with headquarters in Vienna, Austria. The organization strives for improvements in animal welfare through sustainable campaigns and projects. FOUR PAWS focuses on animals that are directly under human influence: stray dogs and stray cats, laboratory animals, farm animals, wild animals and companion animals but also bears, big cats and orangutans kept in inappropriate housing. FOUR PAWS has rescued dozens of bears, big cats and other performing animals from circuses and provided them long-term care and peace in the many FUR PAWS sanctuaries. With offices in Austria, UK, USA, and either countries, FOUR PAWS aims to help animals in need quickly and directly. For more information please visit our website here



Claire LaFrance, FOUR PAWS USA, 617-942- 1233,