Clyde-Beatty Cole Brothers Circus Stops Using Elephants

The Clyde-Beatty Cole Brothers Circus announced in April that it would no longer feature elephants in its traveling circus shows. It will, however, continue to rent out its two remaining elephants for television commercials and educational performances.

Cole Brothers Circus’ marketing director Bill Tebbetts told the Baltimore Sun that the decision to retire the elephant act was based solely on economics, noting it cost more than $60,000 per year to take care of each elephant on the road. According to Tebbetts,

Our business has been going down over the past few years, and we wanted to add some more flair to the show.

Humane Society of the United States’ Richard Farinato, however, chalked up the move to animal rights protests and pressure against the use of circus elephants. Farinato told the Baltimore Sun,

I do think what we’re seeing with the circuses is that they’re deciding that it’s not worth taking the heat. To change the way they’re doing business, they’ve realized they need to get elephants out of sight.


Big void under the big top. Molly Knight, Baltimore Sun, May 6, 2004.

Cole Drops Elephants. Press Release, I-SPEAK, April 2004.

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