Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that it would no longer use elephants in its performances in January of 2016. On Jan. 14, circus’ parent company, Feld Entertainment Inc., revealed that it would hold its final shows in May 2017.
The circus’ final shows will be held in Providence, Rhode Island at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on May 7 and at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York on May 21.
According to Feld Entertainment Inc. press release, the removal of elephants from the circus act contributed to a decline in ticket sales, which, along with high operating costs, “the circus an unsustainable business for the company.”
When the elephants were removed from the shows in 2015, it was announced that the animals would be retired to Ringling’s Center for Elephant Conservation.
The reason for the elephants’ removal was due to complicated patchwork of laws enacted by local governments to protect elephants and other exotic animals. Another factor was the overwhelming outcry over the unfair treatment of performing animals.
Although the treatment of elephants was widely protested, they were a major attraction for the circus. According to the press release, their removal contributed to “a decline in ticket sales greater than could have been anticipated.”
“This was a difficult business decision to make, but by ending the circus tours, we will be able to concentrate on the other lines of business within the Feld Entertainment portfolio,” Feld Entertainment’s Chief Operating Officer Juliette Feld said in the press release.
Feld’s Entertainment’s portfolio includes Marvel Universe Live!, Monster Jam and Disney On Ice.