Ringling Bros. circus announces closure, brings an end to its animal acts

On January 14, Feld Entertainment announced the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus will perform its final show in May 2017. Awareness of how the animals are trained and cared for has caused consumers to shifted their interests and their dollars elsewhere. PHOTO: ©️Greyloch
Feld Entertainment announced the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus will perform its final show in May 2017—just one year after the circus retired its elephants. This means captive big cats and other animals used for the circus’s entertainment acts—which are often subjected to harsh “training” methods and poor living conditions—will soon be spared the mistreatment that is all too common among animals used for “entertainment.” 
 
In addition to being great news for animals, this decision highlights a shift in public attitudes about the exploitation of captive wildlife for entertainment. As awareness of the welfare challenges associated with animal acts has grown, consumers have shifted their interests and their dollars elsewhere. Ringling’s closure will signal to other entertainment companies that animal exploitation is bad business. Feld Entertainment itself produces many shows that do not feature animals, and IFAW applauds the company’s decision to shift its resources toward these more humane options. 
 
“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.” 
 
It is unclear what will happen to the animals currently used in Ringling’s shows once the circus closes in May. IFAW’s animal rescue network works to place rescued and surrendered animals in true sanctuaries where they will live out their lives with proper veterinary care, nutrition, enrichment, and freedom to engage in their natural behaviors. We urge Ringling to ensure that its animals are retired to true sanctuaries. 
 
IFAW will continue to work toward an end to exploitation of captive wildlife in the U.S. and abroad, and we thank you for joining us in these efforts. 
 
 

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