Greatest Show On Earth Bows Out With Last Performance

Erica Roy
June 1, 2017

NY [U.S.], May 22: After being a part of American history for 146 years, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus performed their last show on Sunday in the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

"It is a sad moment", said ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson.

CEO Kenneth Feld called the final show "a celebration", adding that more than 250 million people had seen Ringling's performances.

After years of changing public tastes, declining ticket sales and bitter battles with animal rights activists, Feld Entertainment, which owns of "The Greatest Show on Earth", announced in January that the show would be making its final run. Ringling had been targeted by organizations like PETA who consider forcing animals, such as elephants, to perform cruel.

Throughout its 146 year history, the massive, traveling circus elated crowds from small towns to big cities across America with its exotic animals, mile-long trains and death-defying feats - but not without courting its fair share of controversy.

If there was angst over the remaining Ringling animal performers, it was not evident at the midday performance.

Ringling streamed the final show on its website and on Facebook Live, where at least 19,000 viewers watched at one point.

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Lions, tigers and clowns, no more.

Gymnasts perform during the last show of the Ringling Bros. She has spent the past 10 years organizing demonstrations against Ringling as a campaigner with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Big cat trainer Alexander Lacey hugs one of the tigers.

He credited nixing elephant acts, a shift that animal rights groups demanded, and high operating costs to the decline in business.

"We hope that those circuses will take Ringling as an example of what not to do", Byrne said.

"Our audiences today loved seeing horses, dogs and two very talented 700-pound pigs", Feld spokesman Stephen Payne said on Sunday.

The 13 Asian elephants used in Ringling's two touring companies were phased out and retired to the company's 200-acre (81 hectare) Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk City, Florida.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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