The venerable (and long-protested) Ringling Brothers, and Barnum & Baily Circus has announced that it will close after 146 years of touring the United States. Their last performance will be in May. SeaWorld and other marine parks that hold whales and dolphins should take heed.
Strong objections by animal rights groups had already led the circus last May to retire its elephants to a sanctuary in Florida, albeit the elephants will be used there for “scientific research,” more than a bit ominous.
But protests continued at the circus over making animals, including wild animals, do tricks to entertain the audience. Now, because of those protests, the resultant declining attendance, and the recognition that times have changed, and the public no longer supports the concept of using animals for entertainment, the Ringling Brothers leadership have decided to shut down.
Star Trek actor and author George Takei tweeted that “After 146 yrs, Ringling Bros will close ‘Greatest Show on Earth.’ That title now goes to the daily shitshow coming from the President-elect.”
Aside from the clowns in Washington DC, a greater lesson is for SeaWorld and other marine parks: The public will no longer support captive cetaceans being kept in inhumane conditions for entertainment.
Let us hope SeaWorld is listening.