On Saturday night, news broke that Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus would be shuttering “The Greatest Show on Earth” in May, after a 146 year run. Multiple outlets covered the news and animal lovers who have been hoping to see the end of the circus’ use of wild animals for entertainment have been celebrating ever since.
In a press release, Animal Defenders International (ADI) President, Jan Creamer, stated:
“After decades of exposing the suffering of animals in circuses behind the scenes, we are pleased to hear that Ringlings has finally bowed to public opinion – it was a mistake for them not to see the trend away from animal shows to human-only performances over a decade ago. Circuses can survive without the animal performances.”
Ringling Bros. cited declining ticket sales and a “shift” in public opinion about circuses as the reason behind the decision to end the long-running show. ADI outlined their findings as they worked to stop circuses from using wild animals to entertain people:
Studies of the use of wild animals in traveling circuses show that in the circumstances of a traveling show, circuses cannot meet the needs of wild animals. Animals are confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time tied or chained up, shut in transporters and unable to move around.The abnormal, stereotypical behaviors seen in circus animals, rocking, swaying and pacing, indicate that they are under stress and not coping with their environment. ADI’s video evidence has shown how these animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear and intimidation.
Ringling Bros. transitioned away from using elephants in their performances last May – a press release from Feld Entertainment explained how the move impacted the show:
Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.
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