Final Curtain To Come Down On Ringling Bros. Circus In May
The Ringling Bros. circus has been loved for many generations, but Feld Entertainment, which has owned the circus for 50 years, has decided that after more than 100 years, it will finally shut its operations down.
CEO Kenneth Feld of Feld Entertainment made the announcement that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus would end operations by June 2017 with final performances occurring in May.
Feld said the decision to end the circus came from declining ticket sales and high operation costs, making it an unmaintainable business. He said with the removal of the elephants, ticket sales declined even further; significantly even.
Before the curtain falls on the show for good, the circus has 30 shows in the U.S.
The circus’ elephants have been in the spotlight for years, often their dance routines seen in shows. However, with animal rights groups actively criticizing Ringling Bros. for their treatment of their elephants, the circus opted to phase their acts out completely.
Ringling Bros. has a 200-acre elephant conservation center in Florida, which lies in a rural area between Orlando and Tampa. The elephant conservation center was established in 1995 – to focus on the study and care of Asian elephants, which is the kind of elephants the circus was using and are considered an endangered species.
Still, multiple animal rights groups constantly criticized the circus for how it treated its animals. In fact, PETA has spent years criticizing the treatment of animals in circuses. The U.S. Humane Society, which was a critic of the show and its animal welfare practices, noted the circus had made significant changes in the last century but that those changes did not occur fast enough.
Feld Entertainment paid the U.S. Department of Agriculture $270,000 for alleged Animal Welfare Act violations. The company admitted to nothing but did say it would enact new training for its animal-handling personnel.
Ringling Bros. circus employs 250 and 300 people between its three performing units, with the circus performing in 115 cities every year. Ringing Bros. was founded in 1884 by five of seven Ringling Bros. in Baraboo, Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, the family owned the circus until 1967, which is when Feld Entertainment purchased it.
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