The Cruelest Show on Earth

The Cruelest Show on Earth in Mother Jones documents decades of deaths, illness and injury in the famed herd of performing elephants at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

May 21, 2017: Ringling Bros. travelling circus performed its last show.
Mar. 5, 2015: Feld Entertainment announced that it will phase out elephants in the Ringling Bros. travelling circus by 2018 “to meet shifting consumer preferences.” I talked about it with Warren Olney on NPR.
Nov. 28, 2011: Feld Entertainment agreed to pay a $270,000 penalty — the largest ever under the Animal Welfare Act — to settle numerous alleged violations for mistreatment of elephants and other circus animals.After USDA announced the settlement, Feld released a statement, noting it was not admitting anything but would “enhance” its animal care. The historic penalty ended decades of USDA inaction on abuse allegations against Ringling in inspections, investigations and through long-standing efforts by animal welfare groups — such as PETA, ASPCA and the Animal Protection Institute.

Image by David Cook Wildlife Photography