The End of The Greatest Circus Show on Earth

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( — January 30, 2017) —The circus, known as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, was founded in 1919. Until today, this institution entertained millions of people in the U.S. and around the whole world, but in recent years, ticket sales began to decline for several reasons. 

Management of the circus said in a statement that the circus is closing because of the decline in ticket sales, entertainment industry consumer’s change of taste, high costs of production, and its struggle with groups of animal rights which have banned a very popular elephant circus act.

The elephants act was the pride of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for years. However, in recent years, activists for animal rights are often protesting against such shows, accusing circuses for the cruelty involved in forcing animals to perform. They claim that circus elephants live in unacceptable conditions, being severely abused and beaten into submission with whips and having to spend the majority of their lives chained to a trailer.

The circus rejected the accusations for mistreating the animals, but many cities have recently begun to prohibit performances with animals. This has affected the price of tickets – they have been getting cheaper, but the dropped much more than what Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus management had anticipated.

Juliette Feld, Chief Operating Officer of Feld Entertainment Inc., a live show production company which owns the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and a number of other traveling shows, said that after the abolition of the act with elephants, the number of visitors had suddenly dropped, more than they expected, and that is why the company made the decision to close down the famous circus. 

“This business model is no longer sustainable”, said Juliette Feld in a statement, and added that there are other reasons as well. 

Comparing to what it was in the past, the main entertainment of an average American family changed entirely in the last 20 years. Today, young people are more interested in movies, video games and texting than in going to see a circus performance.

The iconic 146-year-old circus, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, will have its final performances at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., on May 7, and at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., on May 21, 2017.

“Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey was the original property on which we built Feld Entertainment into a global producer of live entertainment over the past 50 years,” said Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. 

“‘We are grateful to the hundreds of millions of fans who have experienced Ringling Bros. over the years. Between now and May, we will give them one last chance to experience the joy and wonder of Ringling Bros.”

Circus elephants will retire at the Center for Elephant Conservation (CEC) breeding farm and at a retirement facility for elephants in Polk City, Florida.