After 146 years of animal abuse, one of the world’s largest circuses, Ringling Bros Circus is closing in May, and animal rights activists have claimed it a win.
Animal rights activists claim victory after one of the world’s largest circuses has announced it will be closing in May after 146 years. According to the company executives, the downfall of the show was due to a variety of factors such as high operating costs, changing public tastes and long battles with animal rights organizations.
“There isn’t any one thing,” explained Kenneth field, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. “This has been a very difficult decision for me and the entire family.”
The Battle with Animal Rights Activists
For years, animal rights activists have been arguing cases against circuses, and other animal entertainment venues for animal abuse and mistreatment.
Just last may, these pressures led Barnum & Bailey Circus to remove elephants from their shows last May, which caused ticket sales to go down drastically.
The activists have raised public awareness of what goes on behind the scenes in training the animals for the shows, which is presumed to be a major factor in the decline in attendance.
Jan Creamer, the president of Animal Defenders international conducted undercover investigations into circuses for over 20 years.
People were shocked to find terrible acts of violence to be so normalized and some circuses. For example, in some circuses small bear cubs were kept in a neck chain for days in order to keep them standing, even while they yowled in pain.
Creamer said that even if only some circuses treat animals poorly, scientists and the public now see even simply keeping them in captivity and forcing them to perform is by itself its “own kind of cruelty”.
The company had long and costly legal battles against them, including one they won in 2015 for $15.75 million. However, now it is clear they had won the battle but lost the war.
Responses to the Announcement
Actress and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson posted on twitter in response to the company’s announcement: “IT’S OVER.”
One of the main animal rights organizations that crusaded against them was PETA.
They applauded their decision to close and even expressed that the trend should spread across the industry: “All other animal circuses, roadside zoos, and wild animal exhibitors, including marine amusement parks like SeaWorld and the Miami Seaquarium, must take note: Society has changed, eyes have been opened, people know now who these animals are, and we know it is wrong to capture and exploit them.”
However, since circuses have long been sown into the fabric of American culture, many still remain with mixed feelings about its closing.