Once again, Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey circus is in town. Animal rights activists showed up on opening night with a video projector and footage of elephants, big cats, and a lion or tiger cup (a KITTEN) being beaten and abused by their trainers. The video showing was repeated each night for the entire duration of Ringling’s run in DC, culminating in the use of two video screens on the last night of their DC shows.
Video:March 18 daytime protest
The video was shown as the circus was letting out every time they played the Verizon Center after dark, which removes the issue of asking people to throw away tickets they have already paid for. People sickened by the way Ringling treats their animals are unlikely to return next year.
Enough of this and Ringlings will have to remove the animal acts from their lineup and focus on human performers. That means keeping the acrobatic shows and bringing in new acts more relevant to how people live today. Animal acts were relevant to how circusgoers in the 1800’s lived, mechanized acts and those inspired by film and video games would attract larger audiences today.
In the meantime, enough people disapprove of the abuse of animals on the circus circuit that the Verizon Center, which can be configured to hold 20,000 people for an event like a circus, can only sell an average of 10,000 tickets per show. This is in spite of the fact that they are one of the less expensive arena acts. That means the aniaml acts are destroying jobs for human performers by driving away business. Animsal activists may make this worse in the short run, but if the circus would listen their business in trhe long run would be better than ever-just ask the Circque de Soleil!