Circus closing

FOR YEARS, ELEPHANTS LIKE OUR FRIEND AT THE OREGON ZOO, WERE IN THE SPOTLIGHT AT THE RINGLING BROTHERS AND BARNUM AND BAILEY CIRCUS – BUT AFTER ENTERTAINING FAMILIES FOR 146 YEARS, IT'S A WRAP FOR THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH...

IN MAY, THE CIRCUS WILL END ITS FAMED BIG TOP SPECTACLE – AND ITS ELEPHANT STARS WERE PART OF ITS DOWNFALL.
LAUREN ROZYLA REPORTS.

IT'S THE END OF THE ROAD FOR THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH. IN JUST FOUR MONTHS, THE CURTAIN FALLS ON THE ONE AND ONLY RINGLING BROTHERS, BARNUM AND BAILEY CIRCUS... AN ICONIC ROAD SHOW THAT DEFINED THE CIRCUS EXPERIENCE FOR GENERATIONS OF CHILDREN. IN THE END, C-E-O KENNETH FELD SAID THE CIRCUS WAS SIMPLY TOO EXPENSIVE TO PRODUCE. HIS FAMILY HAS OWNED THE SHOW FOR THE PAST 50 YEARS. BUT TICKET SALES WERE DECLINING. AND THE CIRCUS'S FATE WAS LIKELY SEALED LAST YEAR WHEN IT RETIRED THE POPULAR ELEPHANT SHOW. FELD SAID THEN... IT WAS INEVITABLE. KENNETH FELD/CHAIRMAN AND CEO FELD ENTERTAINMENT: THERE IS A SAYING, AND IT'S AROUND FOR A LONG TIME, YOU CAN'T FIGHT CITY HALL AND WE FOUND THAT TO BE THE CASE IN THIS SITUATION." NATS FOR YEARS, THE ELEPHANTS AND THEIR DANCE ROUTINES WERE A BIG DRAW FOR CIRCUS FANS. BUT NOT AT ALL POPULAR WITH ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUPS, WHICH DEPLORED THEIR TREATMENT AND REPEATEDLY CRITICIZED, PICKETED, AND SUED THE COMPANY FOR ITS TREATMENT OF ANIMALS. IN 2011, THE CIRCUS PAID A FINE OF MORE THAN A QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS FOR ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE ANIMAL WELFARE ACT. AND LAST YEAR IT RETIRED THE ELEPHANTS TO A CONSERVATION CENTER IN FLORIDA. AFTER THE CLOSURE WAS ANNOUNCED, PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS DECLARED VICTORY, WHILE ADMITTING ITS WAR AGAINST OTHER WILD ANIMAL EXHIBITERS, INCLUDING MARINE AMUSEMENT PARKS LIKE SEAWORLD... IS FAR FROM OVER.

THE LAST PERFORMANCE OF THE RINGLING BROTHERS, BARNUM AND BAILEY CIRCUS WILL BE ON MAY 21ST IN UNIONDALE, NEW YORK.

Instructional Links

Website: Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey | Official site & farewell video

Website: Circus History and Sideshows | Articles on circus life and history

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