- Title: Ringling Bros. circus folding its tent after nearly 150 years
- Date: 16th January 2017
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (FILE - MARCH 19, 2015) (REUTERS) ELEPHANT WITH 'GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH' SIGN WITH WOMAN RIDING AT CIRCUS
- Embargoed: 30th January 2017 21:05
- Keywords: Circus Ringling Bros. Circus performances ticket sales animals PETA
- Location: HARTFORD,CONNECTICUT, PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND AND ELLENTON, FLORIDA AND WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- City: HARTFORD,CONNECTICUT, PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND AND ELLENTON, FLORIDA AND WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Arts/Culture/Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA0035ZC0F2F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS FILE VIDEO OF ELEPHANTS DURING A CIRCUS ACT WHICH WAS DISCONTINUED BY THE CIRCUS IN MAY OF 2016. THE CIRCUS NO LONGER USES ELEPHANTS.**
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus said on Monday (January 16) it will cease performances after 146 years in business, owing to what it said were declining tickets sales and high operating costs.
"Since last May when the elephants were taken off, the shows, the percentage drop was much more severe than what we anticipated and that's what ultimately led to this difficult decision" Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, the Florida-based producer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, told reporters.
In May of last year, the circus retired its elephant act, years after a suit by activists. It admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to a six-figure fine several years before ending the elephant performances.
Animal rights group PETA said it "heralds the end of what has been the saddest show on earth for wild animals, and asks all other animal circuses to follow suit, as this is a sign of changing times."
Feld said the decision to end the circus was not a win for animal rights.
"This is not a win for animal rights activists, nor is it a win for anyone. The over 400 people that are impacted is what we care about first and foremost and it's unfortunate. The animal rights activists, um, I guess, I don't know how they will say it's a win, because they're going to have to find some new agenda for fundraising I suspect. But, um, no it's not. I mean, we stand behind the care that we always give all of our animals and we continue to this day. And we will into the future."
Activists often appeared outside venues with fliers, protesting against the use of elephants, and pictures of animals they said were abused.
After Feld Entertainment sued, claiming malicious prosecution, more than a dozen animal welfare groups agreed in 2012 and 2014 to pay settlements totaling about $25 million to end 14 years of litigation.
The circus will end it long run with performances in Providence, R.I., on May 7, 2017, and in Uniondale, N.Y., on May 21. Other Feld productions, including Marvel Universe LIVE! Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!, will continue, and the company said it will continue to develop new shows.
The owners say they will find suitable homes for the circus animals, numbering between 50 to 60 including: lions, tigers, horses, camels and llamas.
They will also be working to help the hundreds of people who will lose their jobs, assisting with job placement and housing support for the workers who live on the circus trains.
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