Ringling Bros. Circus Says Goodbye

After 146 years of performances all over the U.S., Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus shocked many with their announcement in January that 2017 would be their last season. Locally, Maryland and DC residents had the opportunity to catch the circus one last time when it came to the Verizon Center at the end of March through early April.

On the circus’ website, Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment (the circus’ parent company), stated that the decision to end the circus was largely due declining ticket sales, which fell further than expected after the elephants were removed from performances.

For many animal rights organizations and circus critics of all ages, this is a big deal. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals investigated claims of animal abuse and trainer misdeeds and crusaded against these circuses. In a 2009 federal trial, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey acknowledged the standard use of bullhooks to control their elephants; Feld claimed that such force and punishment was necessary to keep workers safe.

Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus will hold their last show in May 2017.

I believe that the closing of this circus is a monumental event that brings inspiration and ease of mind for those who truly care for animals and their well-being.

Christina Steigerwald is a senior at Chelsea School.

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