End the abuse of elephants in the circus

Aseal Saed, Editorials Editor

People all over the world have enjoyed the entertainment that elephants have provided in circuses and circus-like performances.

For the Ringling Bros. circus group, elephants are a staple in their shows, and have been for over a century. Elephants doing tricks and twirls that captivated the audience.

However, in 2015, Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’, announced their promise to phase out the 13 elephants currently being used in their live shows by 2018, and was subsequently moved up to 2016.

Ringling Bros. are in their final two months of using elephants in their live shows, with one of their most recent and one of the last performances with elephants in D.C..

Coming after decades of protest against the unethical treatment of elephants and other animals in the circus,

Despite their mystic enticement in the shows, what isn’t known was that for these large beloved animals were being tortured and abused behind closed doors as a form of training.

Feld Entertainment has had to pay $275,000 for its violations for the Animal Welfare Act.

Their abusive way towards animals, elephants in particular, have been extensive.

A report by the Humane Society claimed that elephants and other animals used in the circus were being “shocked and beaten.” Because these claims could not be supported, Feld Entertainment won over $25 million by the Humane Society and other animal rights groups.

Even with this victory, other animals used in these shows are being mistreated regularly in their shows.

Handlers of these elephants often use a tool called the bull hook which is used to guide and tame elephants in the circus industry,

However, with its pointed metal point and hook, this device is often misused to stab and beat the elephants.

However, the use of this tool has become increasingly hard, with over 50 cities banning the use of them.

Ringling Bros. isn’t the only perpetrator that abuse animals, many zoos have been outed as elephant and animal abusers in the U.S., with the few hundred elephants that are in North America are mostly found in zoos and circuses.

The plight of elephants does not just stop at the circus or the zoo. This is just one of many plights elephants face. Those of which include: the killing of elephants for their ivory tusks, poaching, and deforestation.

At the rate of their death right now, Asian elephants, which are most used in circuses,  in could be extinct within the next two decades.

Feld Entertainment has made a remarkable precedent by taking one step closer to saving these precious creatures.