Elephants to retire as circus performers – Why not orcas?

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will phase out the show’s iconic elephants from its performances by 2018, telling The Associated Press exclusively that growing public concern about how the animals are treated led to the decision.

“There’s been somewhat of a mood shift among our consumers,” said Alana Feld, the company’s executive vice president. “A lot of people aren’t comfortable with us touring with our elephants.”

Source, The Associated Press, March 5, 2015

As one of the world’s most intelligent species, elephants – like dolphins and orcas – have long been recognized as being unsuitable for captive shows and displays. Insufficient space, lack of social interaction, climate issues and medical ailments such as infections and stress-related diseases are only some of the concerns associated with keeping these large mammals in circuses and zoos.

The perception of sentient mammals as circus stunt performers has forever shifted. An elephant is no more suited to a life of captivity then an orca is to a life in a concrete tank. No zoo or circus can ever hope to replicate the conditions of a natural habitat. These performing elephants need to be given a proper retirement, where they can enjoy a similar quality of life as their wild counterparts.” ~ Ric O’Barry

Indonesian Traveling Dolphin CircusesIndonesian Traveling Dolphin Circus 

Alternatives to performing animals

Circuses such as Cirque du Soleil are immensely popular yet do not feature the use of wild animals. New technologies also exist that can provide superior “virtual” experiences, without ever using live animal displays. And, as we learn more about the lives and needs of these complex mammals, it becomes clearly evident that no man made environment can replicate the complete conditions necessary for these animals to thrive and live to their own, unique potential.

Direct Action DOES Work

Another reason for The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus decision, company President Kenneth Feld said, was that certain cities and counties have passed “anti-circus” and “anti-elephant” ordinances.

Source, The Associated Press, March 5, 2015

The Captivity Industry’s “Dirty Little Secret”

This is a very important point. As captive dolphin and orca displays become more and more unpopular, due to the increased awareness of the needs of these mammals, more laws have the potential to be enacted, banning such initiatives. The more cities, counties and countries that disallow aquariums to display dolphins and whales, the less facilities will be on the map, and the less demand for capturing wild dolphins.  The Captivity Industry's "Dirty Little Secret"

Click here to see a list of Captive Dolphin Facilities that Have Been Closed or Never Opened.

In the case of these elephants, they will be sent to live at the company’s 200-acre conservation facility in central Florida.

How can SeaWorld justify keeping dolphins and orcas in captivity? Free World not SeaWorld!

For an animal that swims 50-100 miles a day in the open ocean, is dependent on an intricate family and social structure, and is entirely self-aware, what possible justification could be used to keep a dolphin or orca in a concrete tank, where nothing about their life resembles a real life?

Billboard on Florida Turnpike Challenges SeaWorld

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About Cara Sands

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It might be true that we don't recall many moments from our early years. However, Cara's first memory of a dolphin had her begging her parents to ask the trainer to let the dolphin go! The problem with captivity was evident to her, even as a 4 year-old child.

A writer by trade, Cara has researched, investigated and documented dolphins suffering in captivity. From documenting dolphins incarcerated in buildings, cut-off from fresh air, sunlight and normal socialization to researching cases of animals imprisoned in solitary confinement, Cara is a dedicated dolphin welfare advocate.

It is her belief that education equals empowerment. The more information shared, the better our choices and knowledge of how to act as a positive and respectful voice for dolphins across the world.

Cara is based out of Canada and makes time whenever possible to observe dolphins in their natural environments. She is writing her first fiction novel but knowing her, the marine world will play a prominent role in her book!

"The use of animals for entertainment is nothing more than an abuse of dominance. Some of the most sentient species on the planet have been exploited to incomprehensible levels, all due to their inherent benevolence. Ironic, considering that we turn to the abused themselves for displays of humanity."
~ Cara Sands

Author: Cara Sands
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