PETA Statement: Ringling Bros. to Retire Performing Elephants in May

For Immediate Release:
January 11, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk released the following statement in response to reports that Ringling Bros. plans to retire the performing elephants in May:

Because of failing financial returns from a public that lost a taste for abusive elephant acts long ago and legislatures that are banning them on the grounds of cruelty, it’s no surprise that Ringling Bros. will pull elephants off the road in May, 18 months earlier than announced. Years of living in shackles, held immobile on concrete floors, has left many elephants lame and sick. As a study released just days ago by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms, elephants can transmit tuberculosis to humans, and Ringling has had TB-positive elephants going from town to town. Since Ringling is also known to breed elephants and use them as test subjects at the Florida facility where it keeps elephants in shackles, PETA warns that because the circus has refused to retire these elephants to an accredited sanctuary, vigilance will be needed to determine how they are treated. PETA is also calling on the circus to end all animal acts, particularly in light of video footage released last month showing how tigers are trained to perform.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way”—has more information at

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind