IFAW’s Response to the Closure of Ringling Bros.’ Animal Acts

Tuesday, 17 January, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 15, 2017)—On Saturday night Feld Entertainment announced that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will close permanently in May.

The traveling circus, which has operated for over a century, has long relied on exploitative animal acts to sell tickets. Though Ringling’s elephants were retired last year in the face of mounting public pressure, captive big cats and other wild animals have remained in the show.

Animals used for circus displays are forced to perform unnatural behaviors, driven by inhumane training techniques and other negative reinforcement. Big cats may be declawed, defanged, or otherwise mutilated in the name of making them “safe” for contact with human performers.

“Ringling Bros. has a long history of animal exploitation and abuse, and we are glad to see the circus’s animal acts coming to an end,” said Beth Allgood, IFAW’s U.S. Country Director. “The circus’s closure highlights changing public perceptions—consumers are increasingly rejecting entertainment options that rely on mistreatment of captive wildlife, and companies are recognizing that animal cruelty is simply bad business.”

IFAW has long advocated for an end to the exploitation of big cats in the U.S., and works to rescue captive tigers, lions and other cats across the country.

“We applaud Feld Entertainment’s decision, and we urge the company to place the circus’s big cats and other animals in legitimate sanctuaries,” Allgood noted. “IFAW is committed to ensuring that rescued and surrendered animals, including those once used in entertainment, receive quality lifetime care.”

About the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

Founded in 1969, IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare) saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  Photos and video available at www.ifawimages.com.

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