Ringling Bros. circus to close after 146 years


ELLENTON, Fla. (AP) — After 146 years, the curtain is coming down on “The Greatest Show on Earth.” The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus told The Associated Press that the show will close forever in May.

The iconic American spectacle was felled by a variety of factors, company executives say. Declining attendance combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise.

“There isn’t any one thing,” said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. “This has been a very difficult decision for me and for the entire family.”

The company broke the news to circus employees Saturday night after shows in Orlando and Miami.



They’ll be some happy elephants tonight:thumbsup:


Sad to hear.

I still remember the bond formed between my father and me when he took me to one of their shows.


The clowns will always have a job.


In politics?:smiley:


Ringling Bros. will have their last shows in May.


“The competitor in many ways is time,” said Feld, adding that transporting the show by rail and other circus quirks - such as providing a traveling school for performers’ children- are throwbacks to another era. “It’s a different model that we can’t see how it works in today’s world to justify and maintain an affordable ticket price. So you’ve got all these things working against it.”


Thanks for sharing! :thumbsup:

I heard about this. They said their decision was based on a mixture of less market demand, expense and animal rights activism.


I have mixed emotions about this. I am happy for the animals, but sad for the people
who will be losing their jobs. A piece of American history and culture coming to an end. I know there are still smaller independent circuses travelling. I can certainly understand the high operating costs and the animal groups being a problem.
Maybe the circus can be revamped without animals. I haven’t been to the circus in years. They were fun when my son was little, but even then expensive.


Another thread already exists. Maybe the moderator can combine them.


I wish that the circus could have survived without elephants, or any other animal acts, for that matter. The reason why is because it is true that animals are treated cruelly when being trained for the circus. At least most people would view it as cruel treatment I would think.


I am sure of the 146 years there were many years conditions were not good for the animals so I am not that sad they are closing.


I hear Chuck Schumer may have some openings.




Well that’s a disturbing response to the news of hundreds of people loosing their jobs.


Not sure why it’s disturbing to you, shame people will lose jobs, it happens all the time, I’ve lost jobs too.

It’s disturbing to know many people buy tickets to view animals in an un-natural environment and un-natural behaviours.


Not to nitpick, but what do you think constitutes an unnatural environment and behaviors? I wasn’t big on the circus, but I really enjoy horse-shows. What about Lipizzaners, etc? Again, my intention isn’t to prod, but I’m curious about where the cut-off line is, and it’s easy to argue that Lipizzaners don’t do those martial aerial displays much on their own. Or for horses to be ridden, period. It’s quite unnatural for a prey animal. It’s an interesting area of ethics to explore.


So I can only suppose you are against people owning dogs and cats since they are in a unnatural environment and exhibiting unnatural behaviors?


Yeah, sorry about that. I only saw the other thread after I posted mine. :blush:


I’m glad too. When I was a kid, I wasn’t allowed to go to circuses that used animals. My mom didn’t believe that bears belonged on bicycles and she had read enough about the treatment of circus animals to be sure it wasn’t ok for us. Not that it was ever a big deal - there were plenty of animal free circuses that went through town.

It’s not so much about “unnatural” to me as it is unnecessary and cruel. Zoos are necessary. Like it or not, people are much more supportive of conservation efforts when they have a chance to see the animals and learn about them up close. But zoo environments and circuses are night and day. Pets are domesticated, they shouldn’t be in the wild. Animals that are found injured and treated often have to be raised in captivity. None of these are comparable to a circus.

The life animals lead when they’re kept in a tiny cage to travel all over the country or world riding bicycles objectively sucks. The way they’re often treated to get them to perform is unconscionable.


With So many great Zoos and all the animal TV shows etc, the Circus just doesn’t attract people like it once did. As well as all of the above! God Bless, Memaw

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