After 146 years in show business, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus will be turning the lights off. The American Circus that has entertained and widened not only eyes but smiles has been set to close in May.
Kenneth Feld, the CEO of the Ringling Brothers, released a statement that the decline of ticket sales over the last decade due to competition with video games and social media has “made the circus an unsustainable business for the company”. Feld also blamed the decline of children’s attention span of causing them to stray away from the excitement the circus provides. Ringling Brothers has attempted to make changes to it’s traditional lineup by hiring a female ringleader as well as its first African American ringleader to try and capture the attention of attendees.
After the gradual retirement of elephants last May, sales dropped tremendously and began to suffer.The elephants were moved to the circus owned Elephant conservation in Florida. Many Animal Rights groups have targeted Ringley Brothers for its treatment of animals, including PETA, who has continously petitioned against the treatment of circus animals.Wayne Pacelle, CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, made a statement saying “It’s just not acceptable any longer to cart wild animals from city to city and have them perform silly yet coercive stunts.In 2014, Feld Entertainment won 25.2 million in settlements from animals groups including the Humane Society, which ended a 14 year fight over allegations that circus employees have not only mistreated the elephants but many other animals who perform in the show.
The announcement meant the animals such as the lions, donkeys, alpacas, and tigers will be relocated to a “suitable home”. Feld Entertainment engages in traveling shows such as Disney on Ice and Monster Jam, and said that they will help accommodate the 500 people that partake in the show who are out of a job due to the animal relocation. These employees will be transferred to other ongoing shows the company engages in. Some instances will include helping some employees with home relocations.
Before the circus closes its curtain for good, it will perform 30 shows over the next four months in cities such as Atlanta, Brooklyn, Washington, Philadelphia,and Boston. The last performance will be on May 21st on Long Island at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.