Saturday, May 7, 2016

Ducking Out For the Day

It's what I'm leading and ending with.

"Unpack the trunk: Ringling’s elephants retire to Florida" by Tamara Lush Associated Press  May 07, 2016

The last 11 touring elephants from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus kicked off their retirement in Florida on Friday with a buffet brunch of carrots, apples, celery, loaves of bread, and lots of hay.

You know what comes out the other end, right?

Circus spokesman Stephen Payne said the elephants arrived at the 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida after performing their final shows in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. They join 29 others already retired to the center after the circus announced last year it would stop using elephants in response to the number of cities and counties that passed ordinances prohibiting the use of bull hooks or nixing wild animal acts altogether.

Executives from Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, said it’s difficult to organize tours of three traveling circuses to 115 cities each year and fighting legislation in each jurisdiction is expensive.

Feld has a herd of 40 Asian elephants, the largest in North America. It will continue a breeding program and the animals will be used in a cancer research project.

On Friday, 23 of the herd dined on the buffet. All but one were female elephants. Smokey, the lone male, is neutered and can coexist with the females peacefully.

‘‘Smokey does not have the aggressive tendencies,’’ said Payne, adding that unaltered male elephants are solitary, territorial, and highly aggressive.

The oldest elephant at the center is named Mysore; she is 70.

Elephants have been the symbol of this circus since P.T. Barnum brought an Asian elephant named Jumbo to America in 1882.

The circus will continue to use tigers, dogs, and goats, and a Mongolian troupe of camel stunt riders joined its Circus Xtreme show. Although animal rights activists decry the use of these animals, the elephants in particular were a problem, groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said. Elephants are social in the wild and enjoy living in family-like environments. Traveling the country in rail cars was inhumane and caused depression in the animals, activists said.

Better than being euthanized like pigs, and that's the imagery I've been getting a lot lately from the pre$$.

The Center for Elephant Conservation is located in Polk City, between Orlando and Tampa.


Also seeSecond duck boat driver pulled after infractions surface

Related: May Days: Duck Boat Disaster


"As the nation’s top thoroughbreds prepare to burst out of the starting gates in the Kentucky Derby’s 142nd year, issues stemming from race relations gallop along with them. Kentucky was not part of the Confederacy. Along with the other ‘‘border states’’ — Delaware, Missouri, and Maryland — it was a slave state but never seceded from the Union during the Civil War. ‘‘The monument was to soberly and solemnly remember the countless thousands of veterans killed in the slaughter of war,’’said Everett Corley, a Republican real estate agent running for Congress, but there is the fear of a race riot occurring at the event and an anxious sense of the strained racial relations in America at the time." 

Or it could just be drunks.