Ringling Bros. elephants quit showbiz, join the fight against cancer

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Ringling Bros. Elephants Quit Showbiz, Join the Fight Against Cancer

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants are making their final appearance Sunday.

Feld Entertainment, the company that owns the Ringling Bros., decided to phase the elephants out after accusations the methods used to train the elephants were cruel. Some places have also enacted laws banning the bullhook, the controversial device used to train the elephants.

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The company originally announced they would retire elephants by 2018, but it moved up that timetable earlier this year.

See photos of the Ringling Bros. elephants:

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Ringling Bros. elephants
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Ringling Bros. elephants quit showbiz, join the fight against cancer
Kelly Ann, an elephant from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, is petted by children during a promotional event linked to the Brazil 2014 World Cup, in Los Angeles, California July 9, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo
Elephants from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus line up for a photo under the Brooklyn Bridge in the Brooklyn Borough of New York, March 20, 2013. The circus will be performing in Brooklyn from March 20 till April 1. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: ANIMALS SOCIETY)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13: General view of elephants and atmosphere at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's 'Circus XTREME' VIP celebrity red carpet premiere at Staples Center on July 13, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David A. Walega/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13: General view of elephants and atmosphere at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's 'Circus XTREME' VIP celebrity red carpet premiere at Staples Center on July 13, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David A. Walega/FilmMagic)
Elephants Bonnie (L) and Kelly Ann eat sugar cane before a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance in Washington, DC on March 19, 2015. Across America through the decades, children of all ages delighted in the arrival of the circus, with its retinue of clowns, acrobats and, most especially, elephants. But, bowing to criticism from animal rights groups, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced on Mrch 5, 2015, it will phase out use of their emblematic Indian stars. AFP PHOTO/ ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS (Photo credit should read Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, AL - JANUARY 21: Circus elephants entertain the crowd during Ringling Bros. 'Elephant Brunch' at Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center on January 21, 2015 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by David A. Smith/Getty Images)
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The 11 elephants still in the circus will join 29 others at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida. They are joining the largest herd of Asian elephants in the Western Hemisphere.

The 200-acre plot of land is more than just an elephant retirement center. Elephants rarely develop cancer, so researchers are studying them in hopes of finding a cure or treatment for pediatric cancer in humans.

The Ringling Bros. will live stream the elephants' last show on Sunday evening on its website and Facebook page.

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