The cruel horror that is The Ringling Bros. Circus is finally closing down, and going the way of it’s historic cousin relics – the traveling snake oil salesmen and the freak-shows of yesteryear.
It was during the 1940s that people came to see the cruelty and horror involved in exploiting deformed and disfigured people in freak-shows, but it has taken until this millennium for the same horror to be felt when cruelty and humiliation towards animals is witnessed.
Famous A-list celebs have praised the news of the closure. Pamela Anderson was quoted as saying “IT’S OVER,” Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, tweeted his feelings of “Good riddance” to the circus, and comedian Ricky Gervais declared it a “victory for humanity.”
Due to cease performances in May 2017, the circus had already phased out elephants from their acts due to media exposes on the unethical treatment of these large, intelligent and beautiful creatures.
The circus still has been demanding that lions, tigers, camels, dogs and horses perform unnatural acts to delight crowds. But according to CEO Kenneth Feld, those crowds have lost interest since the elephants have been gone. Others, however, believe ticket sales were dwindling because people are becoming more compassionate.
Elephants had been the main attraction since the inception of the circus in 1871
Originally formed by the Rungeling Brothers from Wisconsin, who for ease of use changed their name to Ringling.
They eventually merged with another famous circus troupe and became “Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.” They quickly rose to be the most popular circus company in the United States, and would travel between towns and cities on mile long circus trains, where they would tour and erect enormous tents with up to 3 rings.
The elephants began to be phased out when many parts of the country began to ban the cruel tools of the trade that circuses use to train animals. Bull hooks, sharp steel hooks and batons are used to beat the animals into obedience and force them to perform acts that are unnatural in comparison to how they behave in the wild.
These tools are finally being outlawed, making it impossible for such training to take place any longer
The transporting of the circus animals on hot train journeys have also evoked legal investigations, when in 2004 a lion died from lack of water while travelling through the intense heat of the Mojave Desert. Charges were also filed against Ringling Bros. by the USDA in 1998, after it was found they were forcing a sick elephant to perform, and the circus had to pay a fine of $20,000.
Ringling Bros. claim that all of their animals will be retired this coming May
But even the Center for Elephant Conservation that they founded in 1995 has come under scrutiny for supposedly being a cover operation for animal experimentation, under the guise of looking for cancer cures.
Photographic evidence is also available of the terrible living conditions for these animals, where adults and babies are made to stand chained in concrete warehouses, clearly visibly physically deteriorating.
Many baby elephants that are born at the center are alleged to die very young from maltreatment. In the wild elephants are accustomed to roam within a range of around 600 square kilometers, which is not permitted to them at the center.
There is concern over what will happen to the rest of the animals that have lead a humiliating and painful existence at the mercy of exploitative profiteers, but at least we know for sure now that this is beginning to be the end of an incredibly horrific era for animals who are forced to perform in circuses.