Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Thursday that it will stop the use of elephant acts by 2018.
"There's been somewhat of a mood shift among our consumers. A lot of people aren't comfortable with us touring with our elephants," the company said in an interview with Associated Press.
Well, duh. Many consumers have vocally objected to the cruel practice of forcing animals to perform and the extreme abuse these animals are subjected to, such as using bull-hooks to keep elephants in control.
Ringling Bros. knew it would be bad for business if it did not listen to the consumer and change its practices soon. The company most likely took note of SeaWorld’s downfall after the airing of documentary “Blackfish” that argued killer whales in captivity become more aggressive towards each other and people. Since the film’s release, many entertainers have pulled out of scheduled performances with the amusement park.
Not everything has changed, unfortunately. Tigers, dogs and goats will still be part of the show, but the removal of Ringling Bros.' most iconic symbol proves that even the biggest companies can submit to the power of the consumer.