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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Elephants Perform for Last Time in Ringling Brothers Circus



    For the very last time, elephants have performed at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, billed as "The Greatest Show on Earth."

    An Asian elephant carrying a performer holding an American flag kicked off Sunday's final elephant performance at an arena in the northeastern city of Providence, Rhode Island. This ends a tradition that has entertained audiences since circuses began in the U.S. two centuries ago, but that in recent years has been challenged by animal rights activists.

    Six Asian elephants paraded around the ring during the performance, each holding the tail of the one in front of her. The animals will retire to Ringling Brothers' 80-hectare Center for Elephant Conservation in the southern state of Florida. Alana Feld, executive vice president of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, says the center has a herd of 40 Asian elephants, the largest in North America.

    Their final performance was streamed live on Facebook and on the circus' website.

    Elephants have been used in circuses in America for more than 200 years.

    The Humane Society says more than a dozen circuses in the United States continue to use elephants. But none tour as widely or are as well-known as Ringling Brothers. It also is getting more difficult for circuses to tour with elephants. Dozens of cities have banned the use of bullhooks, which are used to train elephants. Some U.S. states also are considering such legislation.

    No longer seen as performers

    Just like in the classic Disney movie "Dumbo," elephants in the past have been dressed up as people and trained to do a range of tricks: play baseball, ride bicycles, play musical instruments, wear wedding dresses or dress in mourning clothes, said Ronald Tobias, author of the 2013 book "Behemoth: The History of the Elephant in America."

    In Sunday's final performance, the giant creatures performed such routines as dancing on small platforms, standing on their hind legs and doing headstands.

    The change at Ringling signifies a shift in Americans' understanding of elephants, Tobias said. People no longer see them as circus performers, "but sentient animals that are capable of a full range of human emotions."

    Attitudes are shifting about other animals as well. Last month, Sea World announced it would end live orca shows and breeding. Ringling will continue to use other animals, including horses, lions, tigers, dogs and kangaroos, in its shows, Feld said.

    Tobias said that as attitudes have changed, people are more interested in seeing elephants in a natural habitat such as a sanctuary, rather than in a circus or zoo.

    Elephants Perform for Last Time in Ringling Brothers Circus

  2. #2
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    Thailand to catch up in another 200 years

  3. #3
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    Hans Mann's Avatar
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    Could be faster, without wearing clown shoes.

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Famed Ringling Bros. Circus Shutting Down in May

    An American institution, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus says it is shutting down in May, closing what it has promoted as "The Greatest Show on Earth" after 146 years.

    Executives at Feld Entertainment, the owner of the traveling road show watched by millions of Americans through the decades, said the circus is closing for a variety of reasons, declining ticket sales after the circus ended its popular display of elephants, changing entertainment tastes, high operating costs and prolonged battles with animal rights groups over using animals in the show.

    Company chairman and chief executive Kenneth Feld said, "This has been a very difficult decision for me and for the entire family."


    30 shows left

    Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses and will perform 30 shows in major cities before ending its operations on May 21.

    Through much of the 20th century, a visit to a Ringling Bros. show was a staple of wholesome family entertainment, with its exotic animals, flashy costumes and high-flying acrobats enthralling large crowds as the circus made an annual stop in cities across the U.S.

    But that changed in the past two decades, Feld said, as American youth became more interested in movies, television, internet games and cell phone texting with friends. The circus did not hold as much interest for many.

    "The competitor in many ways is time," he said. "It's a different model that we can't see how it works in today's world to justify and maintain an affordable ticket price. So you've got all these things working against it."


    End of elephant act

    Ringling Bros. has been the target of extended protests for its use of animals in its show, with animal rights groups contending that forcing them to perform is cruel and unnecessary.

    The circus ended its use of elephants eight months ago, with chief operating officer Juliette Feld saying there was a "dramatic drop" in ticket sales after retiring the elephants to a conservation farm in Florida.

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claimed victory for the imminent demise of Ringling Bros., saying it "heralds the end of what has been the saddest show on earth for wild animals." The Humane Society of the United States applauded "their decision to move away from an institution grounded on inherently inhumane wild animal acts."

    Famed Ringling Bros. Circus Shutting Down in May

    Famed Ringling Bros. Circus Shutting Down in May

  5. #5
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    Ringling Bros. have decided that the Trump show will surpass the attraction of elephants, so has decided they cannot compete and have retired their elephants.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by VocalNeal View Post
    Ringling Bros. have decided that the Trump show will surpass the attraction of elephants, so has decided they cannot compete and have retired their elephants.
    The Trump show? Just the clowns then.

  7. #7
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    ...and financial acrobats. ;-)

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