How do you feel about Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus taking last bow?
Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus ‘The Greatest Show On Earth’ will soon be coming to an end. The most celebrated circus in the US, from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey for 146 years, will soon have its last curtain call.
The owners of the Circus broke the news to their employees last Saturday and announced to the press that the show will close forever in May – after their two touring circuses present the last of 30 scheduled shows over the next four months.
During the mid-1800’s, Phineas Taylor Barnum took a show on the road with animals and people who defied explanation and performed feats of wonder – while somewhere in Wisconsin, five Ringling brothers were busy with performing their incredible juggling acts. The two acts eventually merged and the modern circus was born, travelling around America by train and amazing audiences everywhere.
But the 20th century slowly brought forth things like television and movies – and the internet. The circus could not compete with new mediums and was losing ground. Children and adults became less interested. More importantly, the show had also been facing an increasing number of battles with animal rights groups and the public was also changing, resulting in a decline in attendance and higher operating costs.
“There isn’t any one thing,” Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment which has owned the circus since 1967, told the Associated Press. “This has been a very difficult decision for me and for the entire family.”
After a long legal battle with The Humane Society of the United States in May of 2016, Ringling removed elephants from their shows, sending them to live out their lives on their conservation farm in Florida. They had been the iconic symbol of the circus since 1882 when an elephant named Jumbo was brought to America. The HSUS acknowledged that the circus did make changes over the past – but that the changes didn’t happen quickly enough.
“It’s just not acceptable any longer to cart wild animals from city to city and have them perform silly yet coercive stunts,” the society’s President and CEO Wayne Pacelle was quoted as saying.
Juliette Feld of Feld Entertainment said they will find suitable homes for the other animals and that the company will continue operating the Center for Elephant Conservation.
Some of their employees will be placed in positions with the company’s other shows like Disney on Ice and Monster Jam, but for most part many will be out of a job. The company said they will help them with their resumes and job placements.
What will happen to the many other circus acts across North America that still have animals incorporated into their shows? Do you think it’s time for the end of all the ‘Greatest Show’s on Earth’?
By: Bonnie Wurst – mtltimes.ca