Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus is closing for good come this spring. Feld Entertainment CEO Kenneth Feld, who owns the circus, held a press conference this morning announcing the end of the over 100 year run of the circus.
“I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® will hold its final performances in May of this year,” CEO Kenneth Feld said.
After it was announced in 2016 that Ringling would be phasing out the use of elephants in their circuses, ticket sales began to drop. This action was due to protests of animal activists groups drawing attention to the treatment of animals in the show, particularly the elephants. In fact, in 2011, Feld Entertainment agreed to pay $270,000 in fines to the US Department of Agriculture for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
“It’s just not acceptable any longer to cart wild animals from city to city and have them perform silly yet coercive stunts,” the Humane Society of the United States’ President and CEO Wayne Pacelle said in a statement. “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,” Pacelle said.