Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has announced that by the year 2018, all elephants will be completely phased out of their famous traveling shows. The surprising move comes after years of protests from animal welfare advocates who objected to harsh living conditions imposed on the animals by the circus. Much of the elephants’ lives were spent chained in train cars, being transported to traveling circus shows around the country. An executive from the company told the AP, “There’s been somewhat of a mood shift among our consumers. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with us touring with our elephants.” Many of the animals’ advocates argued that the elephants are intelligent, social creatures and the methods that the circus uses to train and transport them were cruel and unnatural. The circus’ elephants will soon be given new homes at the company’s Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida …

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