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Ringling Brothers – Do the Right Thing and Retire Your Animals to TRUE Sanctuaries

This petition had 89,351 supporters

Like many, when I heard about the end of the Ringling Brothers touring circus, my first reaction was exhilaration. But as executive director of Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS), my mind quickly turned to the question “Where are all the animals going?”

Right now, thousands of animals are being trained to entertain for profit, bred to provide cub petting opportunities, and forced to "live" in shameful conditions.

That’s why I’m worried that Ringling’s tigers, camels, and other newly retired performing animals will soon end up in disreputable roadside zoos, private homes, pseudo-sanctuaries and even more circuses.

None of these can rightfully be called a true “sanctuary.” These animals will continue to be treated as property and used for exhibition and entertainment.

Please sign our petition to call on Ringling to do the right thing and retire its performing animals to accredited sanctuaries.

Juliette Feld of Ringling states “our commitment to all of our animals is for our lifetime," and that it needs to find “suitable homes …”

I agree. This is an opportunity for the lions, tigers, camels, donkeys, alpacas, kangaroos, llamas and other animals to live out the remainder of their lives in true sanctuaries offering the highest quality of care in settings that best support their natural needs and behaviors. Ringling’s animals deserve a REAL retirement - not more abuse in circuses and roadside zoos.

GFAS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was founded in 2007 to fulfill a need to differentiate and support animal sanctuaries that not only provide high-quality care for the animals but also engage in sustainable financial and governance practices. We fulfill this need as the only recognized international sanctuary accreditation program.

I am asking Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, to prioritize retiring their animals at GFAS-accredited sanctuaries. All 132 of our accredited care facilities in the United States have undergone a rigorous assessment and meet our Standards of Excellence. These Standards include valuable animal-specific guidelines for the proper space, enclosure, diet and social needs; they also offer general information for promoting organizational health and sustainability such as proper governance; safety training and protocols; financial practices; and outreach.

I hope that Ringling lives up to its responsibility to place its retired animals in “suitable homes” with the same resolve that kept them in business for 146 years. Prioritizing the placement of retired animals in certified sanctuaries offers a monumental opportunity to set a positive example for all the entertainment community with a decision to do what is right for the many that have served them over the years.

I applaud Ringling for its landmark announcement. Now Ringling must take the responsible next step by placing these animals in accredited sanctuaries. So please join me by signing this petition to urge Feld Entertainment to retire animals in GFAS-certified sanctuaries.

Ringling needs to do the right thing. These animals deserve it.


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Kellie Heckman needs your help with “Feld Entertainment and Ringling Brothers – Do the Right Thing and Retire Your Animals in TRUE Sanctuaries”. Join Kellie and 89,350 supporters today.