The End Of The Greatest Show On Earth: Why The Circus Died


The 146-year running “Greatest Show on Earth” announced on Saturday that it would permanently shut down as of May 2017.

Clown crying

The Ringing Brothers Barnum and Bailey’s Circus has faced a multitude of problems in recent years, the Washington Post citing issues such as “declining ticket sales, high operating costs, and an increasingly negative public sentiment about forcing captive wild animals to perform as entertainment.”

While some animal rights activists may be celebrating – actual HUMANS, who are now out of work, are devastated.

Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, told the Associated Press there wasn’t “any one thing,” or reason, for the closing. Feld said, “This has been a very difficult decision for me and for the entire family.”


Families who want to see the circus before it closes will have the chance. Feld said: “We are grateful to the hundreds of millions of fans who have experienced Ringling Bros. over the years. Between now and May, we will give them one last chance to experience the joy and wonder of Ringling Bros.”

Feld also mentioned that shutting down the elephant act was a huge factor in the company’s financial burden. Last year, after 14 years of pressure from animal rights activists, the circus stopped using elephants in the show. Feld Entertainment says that “following the transition of the elephants off the circus, the company saw a decline in ticket sales greater than could have been anticipated.”


Animal rights groups were relentless in their attacks on the circus, and were never appeased by improved practices in treatment of the animals. According to Breitbart, “the case [against Feld Entertainment] was eventually thrown out after a lead witness was found to have been paid for his testimony by animal rights groups.” But the damage had been done, and now sadly, the circus must close it’s doors.

Are you sad to see the end of “The Greatest Show On Earth”? Share your thoughts in the comments section.