Ringling Bros. Say Goodbye to the Circus Scene After 146 Years

Ringling Bros. Say Goodbye to the Circus Scene After 146 Years

Lily Merritt, Opinion Editor

On January 14th, Kenneth Feld, CEO of the Ringley Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, announced that the month of May will hold their last performances, bringing their 146-year act to an end.

The Ringley Bros. faced constant court cases filed from animal rights activists. After 14-years of mistreatment allegations, a 2014 court case eventually led to the outlaw of elephant acts in circus performances. After the symbol and greatest attraction of the Ringley Bros. Circus were sent to live on a Florida conservation farm, circus attendance drastically dropped.

In a celebratory statement after the release of the circus’s ending, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) representatives spoke proudly of their triumph, “Thirty-six years of PETA protests, of documenting animals left to die, beaten animals, and much more, has reduced attendance to the point of no return. All other animal circuses, roadside zoos, and wild animal exhibitors, including marine amusement parks like SeaWorld and the Miami Seaquarium, must take note: society  has changed, eyes have been opened, people know now who these animals are, and we know it is wrong to capture and exploit them.” The Humane Society has also criticized Ringling Brothers for their mistreatment of their animals; however, Humane Society President and CEO released a statement of gratitude as well upon hearing the news, “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.”

The Ringley Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be holding 30 more performances across the nation for their last year of business, and for the first time in Ringley Brothers history, the show will be led by a female ringmaster.