Ringling Barnum retire their elephant act because the cost of litigation and permitting is prohibitive.
Two years earlier, the ASPCA was ordered to pay [Ringling Barnum operator] Feld [Entertainment] $9.3 million after making false claims against the company in court. These groups aren't just having their claims thrown out; they're so egregious that they are compensating Feld and Ringling Bros. for their misdeeds.

So the claims by these animal rights extremists against Ringling Bros. have been shown in court to be a total fraud, and claims that the "Greatest Show on Earth" is harmful to animals have been debunked repeatedly in court, as well as in the court of public opinion.

But the threats of further litigation didn't stop. Activists publicly admit that it doesn't really matter if you're successful in court — the act of suing is a useful irritant that costs your adversary time, money and focus, and gets them to give in, even if the underlying litigation is without merit. . In fact, here, Feld conceded that the non-stop litigation and costs of opposing regulatory threats in localities around the country were integral to the Feld family's decision to retire the 13 currently performing Asian elephants from the traveling circus.
The Perpetually Aggrieved might have been able to use Ringling Barnum's size against it.  Get ankus ordinances passed in large metropolitan areas, and you deprive Big Bertha of the large arenas that can hold The Greatest Show on Earth.

Getting such ordinances passed state-wide, or in small-town America where there is an athletic field that can hold a small tented show is another matter.

Thus, you might encounter a picketer or two at such a show, but at many such shows there will still be an elephant act, and perhaps an opportunity for the youngsters to ride an elephant at intermission.
The irony here is that Ringling Bros. has done far more to preserve Asian elephants' on planet earth than the flailing animal rights groups. They, instead, are popping corks that children can't see elephants in the circus anymore, and I'm certain will continue their tried and true pattern of focusing their time, energy and resources ginning up lawsuits or other bogus attacks on human interaction with animals — impacting the ability of companies and governments who come under their scrutiny from focusing on their missions. Sadly, I guess that's the point.
It's children of all ages in the big cities who will only be able to see elephants in pictures or in model displays.

But this model elephant will get a model harness to function as pullover team, and the smaller itinerant circuses will have a marketing advantage in getting straw houses, which I will mention to spectators at this year's displays of the Karlson Brothers Circus.

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