After 146 years, “The Greatest Show on Earth” is closing its doors. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which purchased the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1967, says that declining attendance and revenues were to blame, as were high-profile battles with animal-rights activists over the circus’ treatment of animal attractions.
In a letter on the company website, Feld wrote that ticket sales declined dramatically after the company made the decision to retire their elephants in 2015. The ex-circus elephants were sent to an elephant conservation center in Florida after years of pressure from activists.
Most of the circus’ 500 employees will be out of work; the remaining circus animals will be given to “suitable homes.”