After 146 years in the entertainment industry, The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus announced its closure earlier this month.
The show’s closing was the result of declining ticket sales not sustaining the extensive costs it takes to run a circus, said the producer of the circus, Kenneth Feld with Feld Entertainment Company in a press release.
Feld said that the shows’ attendance experienced a significant drop after the decision to get rid of their elephant act in May 2016. Animal rights groups have spent years protesting the use of animals in circus acts, especially elephants. Suspected animal abuse was a constant factor associated with the Ringling Bros. shows.
After the show was fined $270,000 for alleged violation of the Animal Welfare Act in 2011, they opened the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation.The elephants were finally retired, and the circus has been struggling with sales ever since.
Certain animal rights groups, specifically People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), are PETA celebrated the closure in a statement.
“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.”
Some Branham students are also happy with the closure. Sophomore Isabela Dumo said seeing animals forced to perform tricks merely for people’s entertainment ruins the entire experience of a circus for her.
“It’s just difficult to enjoy the show when all I can think about is what they could be putting those animals through, rather than letting them be free,” she said.
The closing of this circus is going to leave about 500 members of the company out of a job. Feld Entertainment runs other shows, including Monster Jam, Marvel Universe Live!, and Disney on Ice. He would like to add some of the Ringling Bros. performers and crew members into his other shows. The circus has 30 shows left before its final act on May 7, in Providence, R.I.