The End of An Era: Ringling Bros. Closes its Curtain in May

This post was originally published on Network Radio‘s blog.

The Ringling Bros. Circus, a name often synonymous with fun and excitement, but also abusive and inhumane, will officially close its tent this May.

According to their website, Kenneth Feld, the CEO of Feld Entertainment, which operates the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, had a few words to say. He explained that the closure of the circus was due to the retirement of their elephants and overall decline in sales, and “this, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.”

This end of an era was met with a wave a relief from various animal activist groups including president of the Humane Society, Wayne Pacelle.

PETA also spoke out amongst the news, saying it’s “the end of the saddest show on earth,” in a recent statement.

With all of this hope and excitement comes worry and a demand for making things right.

In their statement, PETA also calls out other shows to put an end to this mistreatment of animals:

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.”

The end of Ringling Bros. also raises concern for the current working animals. What awaits them once they are retired in May? Will they finally find freedom or be forced to participate in other inhumane conditions?

Washington Post highlights this fear in a recent post.

After Ringling removed the elephants from their show in 2015, they transferred them to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida. However, “some acts, like the dogs and the lions, are owned by their handlers and will remain with them. But the kangaroos, horses, camels, tigers and others belong to Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling, which has said it will find them suitable homes.

These animals could find a home in zoos or with private owners, but even then might end up in shady sanctuaries. Animals like tigers and bears need a lot of land and food in order to survive and could be on a longer hunt to find a home.

For example, tigers from dishonest sanctuaries are quickly filling up the trusted sanctuaries at the moment, leaving little room for our circus friends. Along with situations like these, people are often illegally breeding bear cubs and adopting tigers for their own gain, growing the number that eventually need care.

On one hand, the closure of Ringling Bros. is a step in the right direction, but there is still an alarming concern over the future of the current animal performers.

You can read more about this matter on the Washington Post, and follow up for more information on the future for these soon-to-be-retired animals.


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