Ringling Bros Circus Stages Final Show
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus has finally closed after staging its final performance.
Its decision to shut down came after PETA US worked relentlessly for decades to ensure that every single person thinking of attending one of the outfit’s performances knew exactly the kind of cruelty that his or her ticket purchase would be supporting.
PETA US spent 36 years campaigning against Ringling, including filing complaints with the US Department of Agriculture. Supporters protested performances wearing costumes, brandishing signs, and handing out leaflets, and the group released celebrity videos exposing the circus’s cruelty – including revelations that it broke baby elephants’ spirits by tying them down and beating them.
While the protests took place for decades, thanks to an increasingly concerned public, progress for animals has been won at a dramatic pace over the last two years. In March 2015, Ringling announced that it would no longer use elephants in its shows, pledging to phase them out completely by 2018. But thanks to ever-growing public opposition, by May 2016, the elephants were taken off the road.
Although elephants were no longer being forced to perform, the lions, tigers, camels, donkeys, pigs, kangaroos, llamas, and other animals still being exploited by Ringling continued to endure lives of deprivation on the road. So protests by PETA US and thousands of other compassionate people persisted.
Eventually, Ringling executives realised that dropping elephants while continuing to use tigers and other captive animals in their shows wasn’t nearly enough to overcome years of protests and a reputation for animal abuse. Less than a year after withdrawing its elephant acts, 21 May 2017 marked the last performance of the cruellest show on Earth.
— PETA (@peta) January 15, 2017
Decades of relentless demonstrations, ad campaigns, agency meetings and complaints, eyewitness investigations, school talks, celebrity support, legislation, corporate pressure, and more went into this landmark victory against the notorious animal abusers. Ringling’s closure is a reminder that, with determination, we can achieve meaningful progress for animals.
Circuses in the UK and Ireland
While we celebrate this monumental achievement, we must do everything we can to stop animals from suffering in circuses in Britain. Earlier this month, Scotland became the first country in the UK to introduce legislation to ban wild-animal circuses, but governments elsewhere are lagging behind.
Two circuses regularly tour England with wild animals, including lions, tigers, camels, and zebras. Former Prime Minister David Cameron promised to ban wild-animal circuses in England and Wales, but the Westminster government has been dithering on the issue ever since. Join the PETA Action Team to receive alerts about ways you can help take action on this issue once a new parliament is formed after the general election.
In Ireland, a new bill to ban wild-animal circuses was put forward earlier this year. The Prohibition of Wild Animals in Circuses Bill 2017 could help save animals from a lifetime of abuse and neglect in the name of entertainment. If you’re an Irish resident, please contact your TDs now and ask them to support this bill.