Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus announced it will be closing its animal shows from May, citing declines in ticket sales after earlier announcing a ‘mood shift’ among their consumers.

Is this an end of an era for animal shows in circus?

This is a circus that has been in operation for 146 years, once touted to be the largest animal circus in America.

When I was young, going to the circus to see animals perform used to be a cool and fun thing. That was till the animal rights group started exposing the animal abuse that goes on behind-the-scene.

It is not natural for a bear to walk on a tightrope or for a lion to jump through a hoop. To train them to do so, usually some form of abuse is involved.

Don’t believe me? Watch this video from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA):

When was the last time you watch a circus performance with animals?

I got to know of the end of the animal shows at Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus through a press release by Animal Defenders International (ADI):

“After decades of exposing the cramped, barren conditions with long periods of time tied up and chained with no freedom of movement and a brutal training culture, ADI believes that public opinion has ended the suffering.

Modern audiences now have many entertainment options and do not want to see shows where animals are made to suffer for a few minutes of entertainment.

Jan Creamer, ADI President, said: “After decades of exposing the suffering of animals in circuses behind the scenes, we are pleased to hear that Ringlings has finally bowed to public opinion – it was a mistake for them not to see the trend away from animal shows to human-only performances over a decade ago. Circuses can survive without the animal performances.”

Studies of the use of wild animals in traveling circuses show that in the circumstances of a traveling show, circuses cannot meet the needs of wild animals. Animals are confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time tied or chained up, shut in transporters and unable to move around.The abnormal, stereotypical behaviors seen in circus animals, rocking, swaying and pacing, indicate that they are under stress and not coping with their environment. ADI’s video evidence has shown how these animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear and intimidation.

ADI has led the campaign to expose the suffering and educate the public around the world, providing video evidence, prosecutions and expert reviews. 34 nations have reviewed the evidence and taken action to end traveling circus performances. Across 27 states in the US, 66 jurisdictions have already decided to either ban or restrict the use of wild animals in traveling shows, due to concerns about public safety and animal welfare.

ADI is supporting Representatives Ryan Costello and Raul Grijalva, who launched Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act in Congress last November. The congressmen have concluded that ending wild animal use is the only practical approach to deal with public safety issues and inspection and oversight problems repeatedly cited by the Office of the Inspector General.”

I guess the new Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus will be only featuring human performances from now on: