No More Ringling Circus
An American icon is ending — the nearly 150-year old Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced over the weekend that its last show will be this May.
Some are sad … while others are cheering.
Some feel like it’s the end of an era — that wholesome family entertainment steeped in history and tradition is coming to an end.
Others have been arguing for years that times are changing (as has awareness) — particularly that having large, exotic, and endangered animals perform unnatural circus tricks is wrong.
Kenneth Feld, the owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, announced in May of 2015 that elephants would be phased out of their shows.
Ticket sales had been declining, partly because of people’s increasing unease about elephants and tigers in the shows. Over the years, people learned more about these animals, their training, and the effects of keeping such large and wild animals in captivity. There have been similar issues with SeaWorld and their orca shows so it’s part of a larger idea about wild animals being used for our entertainment.
Ringling Bros. claims they treat their animals well and they also run an elephant conservation center. But animal rights advocates say these animals shouldn’t be in captivity in the first place and that training methods are, by their nature, harsh.
There are also different kinds of circuses to choose from now, including ones that don’t use animals, such as Cirque du Soleil. There are also more and different kinds of entertainment than ever to choose from. Even the owners of the Ringling Bros. Circus put on other shows including Disney on Ice and Monster Jam, to name a few.
Perhaps it is the end of an era … but is it good or bad? What do you think?
For HTE’s story on when Ringling Bros. announced they’re phasing out elephants, click here .
For HTE’s story about SeaWorld changing their orca show, click here .
For HTE’s story about whether wild animals in general should be kept as pets, click here .