The End of Ringling Bros. Circus

The Ringling Bros. circus is shutting down this May after 146 years. This circus would come to Brattleboro back in the day.

Owners says it is a combination of the times (we are easily distracted by other things), the cost of hauling an enormous show from town to town, and a lack of elephants. Elephants had been a part of the show until last year and there was a major drop-off in attendance after they left.

Final shows will be in Providence, RI, and Uniondale, NY later this spring. 500 employees will be looking for work.

(Note to former-circus folk, do consider coming up to Brattleboro. Our circus schoool is being built as I type and we could use more!)

Comments | 6

  • This was wonderful news to

    This was wonderful news to wake up to this morning.Keeping animals confined ( especially large animals like elephants and big cats) for the sole purpose of having them be entertainment for the masses is outdated and cruel. I sincerely hope that the remainng Ringling Brothers animals are allowed to retire to legitimate, regulated sanctuaries where they can live out their lives in open spaces with compassionate and respectful care.

  • Under the Big Top evolution

    The freak shows, high-wire, elephants and more.

    • I remember seeing the side

      I remember seeing the side shows – “freak’ shows at the traveling carnivals that would come around and at the Brockton Fair but not at the circus. As a kid my brothers and i went to the circus many times – fascinated by it all because we had no idea at that time what terrible lives most of the animals were living. I was always most entranced by the beautiful women who would perform acrobatics on horseback. Although I rode horses for much of my younger life my skills never quite reached those levels.. 🙂
      4- H competitions were about as fancy as i got!

  • Joy!

    This is great news.

  • not so sure I'd say it is "good" news

    I find this depressing. A bit for the end of an era and for all the out of work circus people who had nothing to do with animals AT ALL, but also because this doesn’t feel like any great step forward for animals on the planet.

    Let an elephant or lion loose and free in Africa. A poacher will kill it. A developer will cut down it’s habitat.

    Now that circuses have been killed off, next will certainly be zoos, then animal sanctuaries (they are fake and not real conditions for animals, why are they confined!)

    So we let all the animals into the wild and then kill off the habitat. (I’m in a bad mood, my landlord just cut down a big old tree that was home to birds and squirrels.). I don’t have faith that animals outside of circuses will do significantly better at all than in them, given the way we treat the environment.

    But let’s watch their populations for the next few years. perhaps this will save them!

    • You're right - it is not a

      You’re right – it is not a big step for the animals that are desperately trying to survive in the wild as we decimate their habitats or murder them for their skin or a photo op. But, it is a big step for the larger animals that have been used as entertainment and kept caged and chained for their entire lives. I read today that the Shriner’s circus is hoping to purchase many of the animals from Ringling Brothers. If Ringling Brothers really wanted to do the right thing they would give their animals to reputable sanctuaries and let them have a taste of a decent life. And,shame on Shrine Circus for wanting to add to the creatures they already have in captivity. As people become more educated about animals I think you’ll see more and more places of “entertainment” either shutting down or stopping their use of animals. You can have a circus without large animals. Big Apple Circus does it exceptionally well. Even kids now realize that wild and exotic animals should not be made to live their lives doing tricks or jumping through stupid rings of fire. And, yes, there are many, many “sanctuaries” that are just glorified road side zoos -only in it for the money and their animals live truly miserable lives and more often than not end up dead from neglect or abuse. Although those animals may well be the lucky ones in most of these situations. But, there are many excellent sanctuaries that genuinely care about the animals they rescue and work endless hours making sure every creature in their care has medical care, healthy food, lots of enrichment and big spaces to make their days happier and are well loved and respected. I know this for a fact; I’ve visited them; I’ve volunteered at them and I donate to them so they can continue saving lives. It is sad that so many circus folk will lose their jobs and really their chosen families and the lives they’ve been a part of for many years. I don’t know what the answer is to that. But, I don’t think mistreating animals for decades upon decades is the answer to keeping people employed.
      Sorry you lost your tree. Our landlord did the same thing last year in my yard- cutting down a beautiful Oak tree for no reason that i could see except it added a little more parking space. I lost the birds who lived outside my bedroom window and an albino squirrel who visited frequently.

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