The industrial exploitation of wild animals across a suite of different forms of intensive captivity is heart-breaking and cruel. But, with the conviction of an ever-growing legion of compassionate citizens, change is coming.
Last March, when Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that it would be retiring its elephants from their long-suffering and demeaning performances, it was a potential game-changer in the movement to end captive exploitation of wild animals for human entertainment. Marking the end of such an enduring institution was momentous for the 11 elephants who currently tour with the circus (which has seen 12 elephants die in the last 10 years alone), and also for shifting public opinion about the use of animals for entertainment.
However, Ringling's announcement postponed the date of retirement until 2018... Month after month; year after year; unnaturally clinging to a deprived life.
Now, the surprise January gift: Ringling has announced that it will end its elephant show in March 2016, a full year and a half ahead of schedule.