The big top tent of Ringling Bros circus will come down for the final time, at long last, after 146 years of well-documented animal cruelty and abuse.
Of particular attention to animal welfare activists has been the ‘breaking’ of elephants and the cruelty they suffer at the hands of their ‘trainers’; training which, by the way, is not required to submit to any legal welfare protection agency.
The happy news comes 5 years after the last British circus to exploit wild animals, the Great British Circus, drew to a close in 2012. Ringling Bros finally retired their elephants in 2016 to a conservation centre in Florida, losing their star attraction.
The company cited economic reasons for its closure, claiming that the train travel business model was no longer viable. Ticket sales have been dwindling, as they have with Seaworld since the truth of its cruelty towards wild animals became public knowledge because of documentaries such as Blackfish.
Animal activists can I think be more optimistic and see that people’s tastes in what classes as “entertainment” are certainly changing and fewer people are comfortable with bearing witness to animal humiliation and abuse for human amusement.