Quantcast

Ringling Bros. Circus Is Shutting Down After 146 Years

Animals
Photo credit: Lloyd Fox

In an unforeseen move by the famous circus, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey owners have decided to shut down "The Greatest Show On Earth" forever after plummeting ticket sales no longer allowed the show to be viable.

Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Bros., announced the closure to performers on Saturday night before releasing a statement explaining the reason for their decision, which he has said is hard for him and his family.

Stockpiling Moms

When the group announced last year that they would be ending the use of elephants in their shows it seemed to be a great opportunity for growth again because animal advocates might no longer boycott the show. However, what the entertainment group found was quite the opposite. Juliette Feld, Kenneth's daughter and the company's chief operating officer, said:

"We know now that one of the major reasons people came to Ringling Bros. was getting to see elephants. We stand by that decision. We know it was the right decision. This was what audiences wanted to see and it definitely played a major role."

Ironically, getting rid of the elephants wound up being worse for the circus than anything else. Feld Entertainment did make the right decision with the elephants, but their existing animal "performers" continued to suffer, which may have caused animal advocates to steer clear even after the elephants left. Those remaining animals, including lions, tigers, camels, donkeys, alpacas, kangaroos and llamas, will apparently be sent to "suitable" homes while the elephants will stay at their Center for Elephants Conservation.

According to the company, they tried a number of methods to keep the show relevant and appealing to the modern public to no avail. An interactive app was developed, the first female ringmaster was hired and other popular elements of their successful shows, such as motorbike daredevils, were incorporated to keep the show fresh. Nothing significantly improved attendance or interest in the show, whose sales have been declining in the last 10 years.

The show will officially close in May after another 30 or so shows in major cities. The decision was based on a combination of issues, including high operating costs and changing public tastes. Approximately 500 people perform and work on both touring shows for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and most will be out of a job after the show performs its last show. Some performers will be used in other profitable shows that the entertainment group manages, like Monster Jam and Disney on Ice. Thankfully, they will help with housing relocation for the workers that lived strictly on the rail cars that transported the performers and crew.

Reposted with permission from our media associate True Activist.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Individual standing in Hurricane Harvey flooding and damage. Jill Carlson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Allegra Kirkland, Jeremy Deaton, Molly Taft, Mina Lee and Josh Landis

Climate change is already here. It's not something that can simply be ignored by cable news or dismissed by sitting U.S. senators in a Twitter joke. Nor is it a fantastical scenario like The Day After Tomorrow or 2012 that starts with a single crack in the Arctic ice shelf or earthquake tearing through Los Angeles, and results, a few weeks or years later, in the end of life on Earth as we know it.

Read More Show Less
A pregnant woman works out in front of the skyline of London. SHansche / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Air pollution particles that a pregnant woman inhales have the potential to travel through the lungs and breach the fetal side of the placenta, indicating that unborn babies are exposed to black carbon from motor vehicles and fuel burning, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Teen activist Greta Thunberg delivered a talking-to to members of Congress Tuesday during a meeting of the Senate Climate Change Task Force after politicians praised her and other youth activists for their efforts and asked their advice on how to fight climate change.

Read More Show Less
Ten feet of water flooded 20 percent of this Minot, North Dakota neighborhood in June 2011. DVIDSHUB / CC BY 2.0

By Jared Brey

When Hurricane Michael tore through the Florida panhandle last October, it killed at least 43 people, caused an estimated $25 billion in damage and destroyed thousands of homes.

Read More Show Less
A protestor holds up her hand covered with fake oil during a demonstration on the U.C. Berkeley campus in May 2010. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The University of California system will dump all of its investments from fossil fuels, as the Associated Press reported. The university system controls over $84 billion between its pension fund and its endowment. However, the announcement about its investments is not aimed to please activists.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Forest fire continues to blaze in Indonesesia on Sept. 18. WAHYUDI / AFP / Getty Images

Nearly 200 people have been arrested in Indonesia over their possible connections to the massive wildfires raging in the nation's forest, officials said this week.

Read More Show Less

By Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

World leaders have a formidable task: setting a course to save our future. The extreme weather made more frequent and severe by climate change is here. This spring, devastating cyclones impacted 3 million people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Record heatwaves are hitting Europe and other regions — this July was the hottest month in modern record globally. Much of India is again suffering severe drought.

Read More Show Less
Covering Climate Now / YouTube screenshot

By Mark Hertsgaard

The United Nations Secretary General says that he is counting on public pressure to compel governments to take much stronger action against what he calls the climate change "emergency."

Read More Show Less