Monday, May 10


"The San Francisco Zoo has decided to permanently close its pachyderm exhibit amid criticism over the deaths of two of its four elephants." Meanwhile, "Faced with dwindling audiences, sliding profits and increased pressure from animal rights organizations, traveling circuses, including Cole Brothers, New York's Big Apple Circus and Missouri's Circus Flora, have sent their elephants into early retirement - canning one of the most costly acts for such shows to maintain. 'In the next 10 years, we think even zoos may no longer have elephants,' said Bob Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association, which represents more than 4,000 circuses, carnivals and other acts in the United States and Canada." Both of these developments are welcome, even if they're largely bottom-line driven: Caging and maintaining elephants invites all kinds of extra expense and liability. As the Baltimore Sun points out, "Cole Brothers' elephants became even more of a financial burden last year, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture slapped the circus with a $2,750 fine when a trainer hit one of the pachyderms with a broom."

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