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We have some pretty incredible news today, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has officially announced they will be closing up the big top. That’s right, after a 146-year-long ride, the performances will end in May 2017. This news comes on the coat tails of Feld Entertainment’s, the parent company which owns Ringling Bros., decision to end elephant performances in their circus act in May 2015. According to CEO Kenneth Feld,  “Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.”

Although Ringling Bros. opted to retire their elephants, shipping them to their Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida, to be used for cancer research and a captive breeding program, they have continued to feature a plethora of other wild animals in their shows. Lions, tigers, llamas, donkeys, camels, kangaroos, and alpacas are all used for the circus’ current shows, but as of this coming May, they will all be giving a final bow. Feld Entertainment assures that the animals will go to “suitable” homes, which we can only hope means credible wildlife sanctuaries instead of research facilities, zoos, or yet another traveling show.

Surely there are many factors that led to the decision to end the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, but the largest unarguably the reality that people just don’t want to pay to see animals suffering anymore. This particular circus has been the focus of countless investigations and allegations from animal welfare organizations, who successfully revealed what life for the traveling big cats, elephants, and other animals is truly like, brutal.

Whistleblower Sam Haddock who worked training elephants for Ringling Bros. for 30 years was one of the first people to give us insight into how the mystical feats are pulled off. Sharing his experience with PETA, Haddock revealed that to train these animals to do unnatural behaviors, baby elephants were taken from their mothers at the age of 18-22 months. The infants were then subjected to a six-month-long “breaking period,” where they were bound and forced to stand for 23 hours a day. Further cruel methods of restraint and painful bullhooks were used to teach the young elephants to do handstands and other tricks. Thankfully, this practice ended with the cancellation of elephant shows, but we can only imagine the other animals used were subjected to similarly painful and cruel methods of “training.”  

The downfall of Ringling Bros. is a shining example of what happens when people are armed with the truth. No one wants to bring their children to see a show that involved the abuse and exploitation of animals to put on. Feld Entertainment might see the drop in ticket sales as an indicator that the elephants were a huge attraction for the circus, but we would argue that in canceling the elephant show, the circus finally admitted what they were doing was wrong. Seeing this majestic spectacle finally concede to the reality that what they do to animals is cruel and inhumane, people responded accordingly. There is no better indicator of what individuals care about than the ways they spend their money and time. The public resoundingly voted with their feet in boycotting Ringling Bros. and finally, all of the hard work from activists and animal lovers alike has started to pay off. We certainly hope the toppling of this giant will set off a domino effect in the industry leading to many, many more victories for captive animals.

Image source: Eky Studio/Shutterstock

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0 comments on “Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is Shutting Down!”

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cheyenne m
6 Months Ago

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY .YOU CAN SEE ALL THE BULL HOOK MARKS ON THIS POOR BABY


Reply
Louis mcivor
6 Months Ago

I am sooo happy this is finally coming to an end ! After Seaworld has been boarded up...Activists can work on all the Rodeos , people who ride horses, eat meat and those dreaded Zoo\'s around the Globe! Don\'t forget about the Poachers in Africa! We\'re gonna need an army over there and then I think it\'s time we set all the Dogs and Cats free!! Stop the Neutering and Spading! They have a right to multiply too!! Looking forward to the realization of Planet of the Apes to teach all us humans a lesson!! Then we\'ll pay for all our animal crimes !


Reply
Sailor-Sedna
6 Months Ago

Thank goodness this is happening (I saw this circus as a kid and sadly didn\'t know about the horrific things going on behind the scenes). The only circuses that should be around are the ones that only have humans performing, no animals. Let us hope the poor animals end up in wildlife sanctuaries and other places like the horrible Commerford and Sons Zoo shuts down, that place is horrible too.


Reply
Kazzie
6 Months Ago

We want all circuses to close down. They are Nazi Animal Abuse camps run by sadistic Narcissists.


Reply
Diane
6 Months Ago

When I was a child, I attended trips to Sacramento Ca. USA, to see Ringling Bros Circus. While the animals were attention-getting, the high wire and other circus acts were my favorite. I didn\'t know but suspected the whips and chairs were a common usage to get animals to "behave". Why must imprisoning and cruelty to animals be necessary to put on a good show? I would have been happy with glittery \'people acts\'.
All zoos should also be \'put down\' too, along with animal circus acts. Animals deserve to have a life of their own - not as prisoners, isolated, in tiny cement enclosures where food and medicine is often denied. In many countries, animals are left in confinement, without food, water or medical care, They are not released to at least be able to seek their own food. They starve to death and no one seems to care. Such confinements are animal cruelty and must be stopped.


Reply
MARE REASONS
6 Months Ago

YIPPIE, i HAVE PROTESTED AT THIS CRAP CIRCUS FOR 3 YEARS AND I AM SO HAPPY PUBLIC OUTCRY AND COMPASSION HAS WON OVER..


Reply
Kate
6 Months Ago

Really Donna? You think it is acceptable for people to abuse animals in their jobs? The animals did not close down the circus but the people who run it. Do you know about the suffering of animals who spend their lives entertaining audiences? Do you care? Sure it is hard for them but causing harm and pain to a animals should never be considered acceptable. They are not here to entertain humans but are living and feeling beings. They could have changed what they do and made a circus without animals if they really wanted to.
I heard a blip of this o the radio today and it was so short I was not sure if I heard right-I was hoping I did. I spent many years demonstrating when they came to Boston. One time I saw one of the tigers being brought in (out?) in a little cage and I was so upset. S/eh would have done her bit and then gone back to that cage. There are always those who think that the animals have no rights but are objects but i for one am very happy-not about the people losing their jobs necessarily but that there will be no more animals enduring abuse.


Reply
M Leybra.
6 Months Ago

This Feld family is insane, captive breeding ELEPHANTS for vivisection. To be used for cancer research for humans, I don’t want to believe!


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Donna
6 Months Ago

It always all right for you to put in your two cents about the abuse of animals, the seal hunt and now the circus. Well done, but this is how these people made a living and feed their families. If you are willing to take away their livelihood then you should be there with money to support them now that they haven\'t got a job. Why do people just make a fuss and then leave without realizing the repercussions of their actions. I loved the circus and the animals were treated very well. This action is just getting kids into more of their gaming systems and not out with their families. To bad.


Reply
Vasil
15 Jan 2017

Really? If people involved in abusing animals lose their jobs, well, then this is the perfect outcome!
Really? For kids it\'s better to watch tortured animals being abused, preferably with their families eh, than gaming on their laptops?
What are you doing on this site you insensitive, selfish animal circus lover? Go elsewhere to dispense your emotional, immature, ignorant stupidity.

leanne
15 Jan 2017

donna, your comments are just disgusting and prehistoric!
shame on you for supporting ANIMAL ABUSE!

Malakela
15 Jan 2017

WOW! Donna, would you like to go to work and be abused? Oh and on top of it not get paid? Well, those wild animals have been beaten, abused, taken out of their environment, away from their families and forced to do un-natural acts. And you are OK with this? Where is your compassion for other living beings that cannot speak for themselves? Just like any other job market that goes to the way, side - people have to adapt and get new skills. This is not new and goes along with many industries. So why not a cruel one? If you want your kids to see wild animals, go watch National Geographic, where they are in their natural habitat - living their lives as they should. I hope that you find it within yourself to dig deep and find some compassion for other living creatures. They were not put on this earth for our disposal, entertainment or to do with as we want. This is called prison. They cannot speak up for themselves, so those of us that have compassion and feel for other things beings have the right to life - have to stand up and make our voices heard for them. It is too bad that you cannot see or understand this, especially since you are on this website. I wish you insight and compassion in the new year.

Louis mcivor
16 Jan 2017

I am sooo happy this is finally coming to an end ! After Seaworld has been boarded up...Activists can work on all the Rodeos , people who ride horses, eat meat and those dreaded Zoo\'s around the Globe! Don\'t forget about the Poachers in Africa! We\'re gonna need an army over there and then I think it\'s time we set all the Dogs and Cats free!! Stop the Neutering and Spading! They have a right to multiply too!! Looking forward to the realization of Planet of the Apes to teach all us humans a lesson!! Then we\'ll pay for all our animal crimes !

Louis mcivor
16 Jan 2017

Any of you Activists ever have a Pony ride as a child? Donna has her right to an opinion without the verbal feed back crap she\'s getting here for having sympathy for HUMANS.... How many of you keep Fish in a tank at home? Don\'t forget to set them free too!!

moonlit
17 Jan 2017

No sweetie the animals weren\'t treated very well you just didn\'t get to see that part since you were just in the audience! If your "job" involves abusing animals or humans I really couldn\'t give a flying fuck that you will be losing it! Playing outside and learning to respect nature including all animals is what kids need. Circuses with trained and abused animals doing unnatural tricks is not!

Kissa
19 Jan 2017

Animals have NEVER been treated well at circuses. NEVER. They are brutalized and tortured to learn tricks. I don\'t care one little bit if those torturers don\'t have a job. Good riddance. Hope they get brutally treated also.

Kate-Lyn Jones
6 Months Ago

Next up, SeaWorld.


Reply
Anne Onymous
15 Jan 2017

Be a little more careful about SeaWorld. They do captive breed their Orcas, and put on animal shows... BUT how many people out there who take up the Banner Of Animal Abuse know how many dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, and other creatures are alive because of SeaWorld\'s world-class ocean rescue teams? SeaWorld disappears, so do lots of numbers of these endangered species. SeaWorld - believe it or not - does more good than harm.
Do not make the mistake of allowing yourselves to be LED down that path. Do your homework, and think for yourselves.

Bunny R
16 Jan 2017

SEAWORLD does a great job of rescuing, rehabbing, and releasing animals. They can capitalize on that and stop abusing the orcas. Show people that they truly care about the oceans and the animals that live there. Change the direction of their focus and instead be there to sustain the wild animals in our oceans and waterways. Be on the forefront of aquatic rescue and be one of the foremost rehabbing not only those who live there but in the water itself. Another orca has perished without knowing freedom again. Listen to the screams of the family pods as the babies are stolen away from them. It\'s heartbreaking. SEAWORLD has every ability to go into another direction.

Bunny R
16 Jan 2017

SEAWORLD



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