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MSPCA-Angell Applauds Ringling Bros. Decision to Retire Elephants from Circuses

BOSTON, March 5, 2015 – The MSPCA-Angell today saluted Ringling Bros.’ unprecedented decision to eliminate elephant acts from its circuses within three years and retire the animals to its wildlife center in Florida.

MSPCA President Carter Luke—who for 28 years has overseen lobbying and public education campaigns to pressure circus operators to stop wild animal performances—called on Ringling Bros. to not wait one more day to retire its elephants.

“Ringling Bros. has admitted that public pressure was the primary factor in its decision to retire its elephants and, if that is the case, the company should immediately end the performances these animals are forced to endure in the name of entertainment,” he said.

The MSPCA has been on the front lines for decades in the battle to eliminate elephant acts from circuses, and to ban use of the cruel bullhook, through pursuit of stronger state and local animal protection laws and public education campaigns.

State representatives Lori Ehrlich and Brian Mannal, as well as Senator Bob Hudlund, have filed bills this session to protect elephants in circuses.  House bills 1274 and 1477 will have a hearing this year.  Advocacy on this issue is crucial as many other circuses that use elephants continue to visit Massachusetts.

“We call on Ringling Bros. to not just immediately retire these animals but to devote the necessary resources to its Florida center that will ensure they can live out their lives comfortably, and free of confinement and spectacle,” said Luke.


The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit