With the increasing sentiment against mistreatment of Animals in the United States,zoos are moving animals to more realistic and spacious quarters while cities and towns across the country are passing new laws and regulations which specify how wild animals can be shown for entertainment, and books and rallies are being held in opposition to showing trained animals.

That ever changing legal environment has been cited by officials of the Barnum & Bailey Circus (Feld Entertainment Group) as the reason they are retiring the final 10 performing elephants which still toured with the traveling tent show until last weekend.

Changing public tastes alter 145 year-old show

As of May 1st the final shows in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island including elephants in the three rings have closed the century old part of this circus.145 years ago, P.T.Barnum brought the extra large African Elephant Jumbo to the U.S. and ever since an elephant act has been the symbol of the circus he founded.But performing dogs, pigs, donkeys, goats, and what is known in the trade as fuzzies will remain in the show along with the latest addition, a trained kangaroo.

As of today the remaining Asian Elephants are on their way down the East Coast of the U.S. in custom built trucks to Polk City, Florida to join the largest elephant herd in the Hemisphere at the Ringling Bros.

and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation where they will roam free over a 200 acre park with 40 other elephants but will contribute to the human search for a cancer cure -- elephants being one of the rare species whose members seldom develops the disease.

There is also an elephant sanctuary in Somerset County, West Central Pennsylvania operated by the Pittsburgh Zoo, The International Conservation Center, but press representative Tracy Gray refused to give this 40+ year journalist any details about the kind and number of animals they currently keep there or where they come from.

Feld Press statement on early retirement

Earlier plans called for retiring the elephants in two more years but the increasing complexity of coping with varying local laws seems to have caused the early retirement.Of course, Federal requirements may have had something to do with it also since 2011 when the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture fined Feld Entertainment $270,000 for mistreating the elephants.

The Feld Entertainment press release stated in part, "In March of last year, Feld Entertainment announced all of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s touring elephants would move to the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation by 2018. Since then, the company’s dedicated staff has made the necessary plans and preparations to move the elephants to the Center for Elephant Conservation much sooner than anticipated."