The "Saddest Show on Earth" is Closing

by Barbara Murray
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Major news outlets around the nation reported this past weekend that Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus will shut down permanently this coming May. The New York Times (NYT), reported January 14, 2017 that Kenneth Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment, attributed the decision to declining ticket sales.

Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circuses have been performing for 146 years. Feld Entertainment has owned Ringling since 1967, according to the NYT.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal, better known by its acronym PETA, along with other animal rights organizations, have worked for years to get Ringling to remove elephants from its shows because of the deplorable conditions. After the formal announcement was made that the circus would be shutting down, the New York Times said PETA called it the "saddest show on Earth" on Twitter.

I only attended one circus in my lifetime before realizing that they must practice some very cruel actions to scare these wild animals into performing these routines to please hundreds of thousands of viewers per year.

I did some research and found out that the animals only do these difficult tricks because they are afraid of what would happen to them if they didn’t. They use whips, collars, electric prods and other tools of the circus business.

They constantly travel, almost year round, in all kinds of weather. The animals are stuck in filthy cages in which they have to eat and drink and use as a potty.

What I found in my studies, is probably pretty mild compared to what these trapped animals must actually endure.

My personal thoughts on Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey ending is thoughts of relief for all these animals that won’t be subjected to such cruelty. I also fear for the animals in the current lineup and hope that are all placed in much happier environments.

I don’t like that many people will be losing their jobs, approximately 400, according to the NYT. I guess the next question is where do the workers go from here?