Animal activists have something to celebrate today. After years of protests, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is shutting its doors for good in May.
They most recently axed their elephant act which had been their biggest money maker, but was heavily criticized for the use of bull hooks and poor treatment of the animals.
The CEO of the company, Kenneth Feld, said in a statement on their website:
After much evaluation and deliberation, my family and I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® will hold its final performances in May of this year. Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.
The circus has had several animal welfare violations in the course of its 146 year history. Even though they retired the long abused elephants to a "conservation center," plenty of other animals have been brutally trained for the various performances.
The Humane Society of the United States said in a statement after the news was announced:
It's just not acceptable any longer to cart wild animals from city to city and have them perform silly yet coercive stunts. I know this is bittersweet for the Feld family, but I applaud their decision to move away from an institution grounded on inherently inhumane wild animal acts.
For family-friendly entertainment that doesn't involve the suffering of animals, PETA offers a list of cruelty free circuses.