Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the biggest circus in the world and self-styled “Greatest Show On Earth” is packing up the big top after 146 years. 146 years! That’s A LOT of assuredly depressed animals. NBC reports that the circus is calling it quits due to low ticket sales they’re blaming it on not using elephants any longer. Oh, sure, blame it on Dumbo!
The announcement comes after the show saw a steep drop in ticket sales, after the circus’ owners ended the use of live elephants in performances. The circus was involved in protracted legal battles with animal rights groups over the use of elephants in 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,” Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment which owns the circus, said in a statement issued Saturday night.
As you can imagine, PETA is already dancing a a non-animal tested jig on Ringling Bros. grave. In vegan shoes.
After 36 years of PETA protests, which showed the world the plight of animal captivity, PETA heralds the end of the saddest show on earth.
— PETA (@peta) January 15, 2017
The Humane Society was a little nicer and gave them a gentle pat on the head on the way to the circus unemployment line (it’s staffed by clowns!).
“Ringling Bros. has changed a great deal over a century and a half, but not fast enough,” Humane Society of the United States President and CEO Wayne Pacelle said in a Facebook post.
He added: “It’s just not acceptable any longer to cart wild animals from city to city and have them perform silly yet coercive stunts. I know this is bittersweet for the Feld family, but I applaud their decision to move away from an institution grounded on inherently inhumane wild animal acts.””
Ringling Bros. currently has two touring shows that will garage all of their tiny clown cars in May. Some of the 500-something employees that run the show will move on to Feld Entertainment’s other productions (Monster Jam, Disney on Ice and Marvel Live) but many are out of jobs. And the animals?
The company said that its animals — including lions, tigers, camels, donkeys, alpacas, kangaroos and llamas — will go to suitable homes. It added that it will continue to operate the Florida-based Center for Elephant Conservation, where it placed its elephants after phasing them out of the show in May 2016.
Kenneth Feld also explained that he felt low ticket sales were due to little kids being so jacked up on media in our digital age that they can’t sit still for Ringling Bros. standard two and a half hour shows.
“The competitor in many ways is time,” he told the agency, adding that many small children raised on modern entertainment found it difficult to sit still for the duration of the more than two-hour-long show.
Um, Seventh Day Adventist children wouldn’t sit still for a two hour (and something) show, Kenny. The circus was started in 1919 when the Ringlings merged their show with the one created by legendary con artist PT Barnum.
The only thing I associate the circus with is terror, and that’s for two reasons. One, laughing clowns with red mouths that made me think of blood. I was (and continue to be) a morbid child. The other is the extreme anxiety and stress young J. Harvey endured waiting for the Ringling Bros. tightrope walkers to plunge to their deaths. ESPECIALLY when the announcer declared that they were taking off their safety harnesses. Children shouldn’t have to enter cognitive behavioral therapy to relieve anxiety after a day out at the big top. That cotton candy wilted rather quickly from fear, let me tell you.
Pic: NBC News