"We're usually beholden to train schedules, and the elephant walk requires a lot of work and pre-planning with law enforcement, the venues and our personnel," explains circus spokesman Steve Payne to the Orange County Register.
While Ringling Bros. hasn't announced a policy to cancel the walks permanently throughout each stop of the tour, the events have been scrapped several time this year already, like in Washington D.C., Virginia, Los Angeles and an upcoming event in Anaheim, California.
The tradition of allowing elephants to stretch after train rides had been used as a promotional tool, as locals would inevitably gather to watch the animals parade by. But in recent years, as awareness has spread about how the circus treats its elephants, the publicized events became the site of protests from group like PETA -- which Ringling Bros. would not doubt prefer to avoid, particularly because they were effective in turning people away.
"Every year when we're protesting the elephant parade and handing out information [at the venue]," said campaigner Ashley Byrne. "Every year we meet people who say it will be their last year at the circus."