Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Ringling Bros and African Lion Safari elephant semen import application

Posted: 17 October 2013. Updated: 17 October 2013


On 23rd May 2013 Feld Entertainment Inc (FEI), the parent company of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey, submitted an application to the US Fish and Wildlife Service to export Asian elephant semen, collected at Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation. The aim is to facilitate the artificial insemination (AI) of female Asian elephants at an establishment called the “African Lion Safari” (ALS) in Canada.

FEI mention in their application the International Elephant Foundation, which they helped establish and say they have contributed $500,000 in support of conservation and research programs. They say that Ringling shows incorporate conservation initiatives such as an Animal Open House, conservation video and material in the souvenir booklet.

However, the animals which tour with Ringling tragically spend almost their entire lives in temporary accommodation, suffering long and arduous journeys, with little opportunity to express their normal behaviour patterns. For example , during May 2008, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Gold Tour planned to visit seven locations, the Red Tour three locations, and the Blue Tour five locations.

During one tour a sick elephant, Sarah, fell down and collapsed late at night while attempting to climb up the ramp onto the train car after leaving the Ringling performances at the Honda Center.

The Agreement between FEI and ALS includes the following points of interest:

  • They believe that “the North American captive Asian elephant population plays a crucial role in the preservation of the species”
  • There “must be a significant increase in breeding and births” of Asian elephants in the North American population in order for the population to be self-sustaining
  • Semen collected at Ringling shall only be used “for the purpose of artificial insemination of ALS’s Asian elephant cows”
  • The provision of semen “does not create or give rise to any additional rights or ownership interest” of progeny to FEI “any calf born as a result of the Breeding Project shall be the sole property of ALS and/or the owner of the cow and that Ringling Bros. shall have no ownership interest in such calf”

    It is of grave concern that a circus, which has been shown to keep its animals in such restricted conditions, is involved in a scheme to breed more animals for a life in captivity.

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