No need to keep those 40 employees around when they aren't producing anything profitable and Pixar is there to continue the animation tradition. Chicken Little was a disappointment and so are all the poor sequels Disney animation has made. It is a pretty obvious move to cut those jobs with the Pixar merger and it was announced mid-summer that this would be happening.
It's the ebb and flow of the business. Disney has always cut the work force in the past as the amount of production has been trimmed back. One of biggest problems today is the salary being paid to some animators. During the eighty's and the early ninety's salaries more than doubled in all fields as more and more production was going on. Now we have the problem of economic suicide to keep an entire staff occupied with profitable productions. It was unsustainable at the pace it was going.
It is the creative talent that is needed. Everything else is basic and you hire or contract out the mechanical aspects of the creative product. Disney is in flux with live action and animation as technology changes. While the old timers would like to keep 2-D animation for artistic purposes, the time has come where computer graphics rule. The transition for the hand drawn animators is difficult. Artists are still needed at Disney but how many.