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Ringling Bros. Circus Holds Its Final Show

After 146 years in operation, the circus company will finally stop exploiting wild animals for entertainment.

On Sunday, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will perform its final show—referred to by animal-rights groups as “The Cruelest Show on Earth”—at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island in New York. “For the last time, Ringling’s lions, tigers, camels, and other captive animals will enter the ring and be forced to perform demeaning and unnatural tricks,” international animal-rights group Last Chance for Animals’ Founder Chris DeRose said. “It’s a momentous occasion that took the animal-rights movement more than three decades to achieve.” Last May, Ringling Bros. removed elephants from performances and shortly thereafter, announced that falling ticket sales, a shift in public perception of circuses, and pressure from animal-rights groups forced the circus to close after 146 years in operation. Due to the efforts of various organizations worldwide, many countries—including Mexico, Iran, and The Netherlands—have banned the use of animals in traveling circuses. A federal bill entitled the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act was introduced to the House of Representatives with the hope that the US government would ban the exploitation of wild animals for entertainment nationwide.

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