Sadly, after 146 years in business, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus will finally hold their last performance this coming May 2017. CEO Kenneth Feld made this difficult decision citing declining sales and increasing operation costs.
The circus has faced its fair share of scrutiny from animal rights activists and public opinions. One of the most controversial parts of the show was with the acts including the elephants. During the late 90’s an elephant had died overnight in a stall which prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to file a complaint against the circus. They claimed that the elephant was ill however the circus required that the animal perform regardless. A lawsuit was later settled requiring the company to pay a monetary donation to an Asian elephant organization. More investigations followed due to the use of bull hooks, prolonged periods being kept chained and claims of separation between the mother elephants and their offspring. The decision was made to ultimately remove elephants from the show in May 2016.
— PETA (@peta) January 15, 2017
While I, for one am sad to see such a great tradition come to an end. The circus has provided laughter and joy to thousands of children and their families throughout the years. What is worse is those that will not get to share in this great part of history.
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