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After a six-year hiatus, the Ringling Bros. Circus is returning. When they ceased operations in 2017, animal advocates were ecstatic. All circus animals are inherently treated poorly. Animals like elephants, lions, and bears often suffer when they are kept as parts of circuses. Trainers may use cruel methods to force the animals to perform, animals may be kept in unsuitable habitations, and they may be kept isolated from others of their species. Conversely, some may be forced into unnaturally close proximity. All of this can cause circus animals significant emotional and physical distress. So when the circus announced their return, many animal lovers may have been fearful about the potential effects on captive creatures. However, in an amazing twist, the Ringling Bros. Circus will return without any animal acts!

Source: Associated Press/YouTube

Instead of featuring animal-centered entertainment, the circus will consist of human-only acts. These include trapeze artists, tightrope walkers, bicycle performances, and more. The circus will also feature robotic replacements for live animals. 

The Ringling Bros. Circus is not the first to ditch animal acts. Both Cirque du Soleil and Circus Vargas have successfully done away with animal acts in recent years. Hopefully, more circuses will follow suit. This is especially likely in light of rising distaste for animal acts in circuses. As more people become aware of the cruelty behind this type of performance, they fall further from favor. 

By 2016, several states had already banned performances that featured wild animals. This move mirrored public sentiment. The majority of people polled believed that animals kept in circuses were not treated well. For this reason, they disapproved of animal acts at circuses. When the Ringling Bros. Circus closed in 2017, one of the reasons given was that ticket sales had been declining. This, combined with a high cost of operation, led to financial losses for the circus. 

Animal rights organizations have responded to the Ringling Circus’s announcement positively. They praise the organization for moving forward and doing away with animal cruelty. The Humane Society was one of the organizations that expressed their approval. The organization’s CEO stated that they believe the show will be much more “dazzling” and “successful” without the use of live animals. It is to be hoped that soon, animal acts in circuses will be a thing of the past.

Sign this petition to Help Protect Circus Animals!

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