In early 2017, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that “The Greatest Show on Earth” will give its last performance in May. The show was iconic to American audiences who have been attending the circus for 146 years – making it a family tradition for many – and saying farewell has received mixed reactions.
The circus used elephants in their shows up until 2016, when criticism by animal rights groups pushed them to stop using the creatures.While ticket sales had been steadily declining in recent years, the transition away from the use of elephants caused ticket sales to plummet.
This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.” A representative said.
While the other two traveling shows will continue to perform, the circus will be ending. While hundreds of employees will be reassigned to other shows, most will need to find new employment.
The decision was even more difficult because of the amazing fans that have become part of our extended circus family over the years,” the company said. “We know Ringling Bros. isn’t only our family business, but also your family tradition.”
Some people are devastated that the circus will be no more, but others are wondering why it continued to exist after the public realized how the performing animals were treated on a daily basis. Former employees of the circus are happy for the animals that will no longer be forced to perform, but others are sad that their family tradition has to end.