If you ever went to the circus as a child, you probably have fond memories of watching the performers and animals pull off amazing stunts that made your jaw drop.
Unfortunately, most of us had no idea that many of the animals are mistreated behind the scenes of several circuses, including the famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. But after years of animal abuse and cruel practices, it was announced in January that the show will finally end this May.
“We didn’t know any better. Now, we do. As Ringling has found out, people are better educated and recognize suffering and cruelty in other species. They don’t want to see animals suffer for 15 minutes of entertainment,” Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International, told USA Today.
Of course, this is a sad announcement for some. After all, the circus has been around since 1884, when it was founded by five of the seven Ringling brothers in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
The family owned it until 1967, when they sold the circus to Feld Entertainment. In 2011, the company paid a fine of $270,000 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Animal rights organizations have investigated the living conditions of the animals and uncovered elephants being kept in chains, elephant babies being tied up and separated from their mothers, and the creatures being affected by diseases like tuberculosis and herpes.
— PETA (@peta) January 15, 2017