The Saddest Show on Earth

Do you remember the first time you went to the circus? How about the pure joy and uncontainable excitement felt throughout your entire body the moment you heard your parents whispering about the tickets they plan to surprise you with? Don’t even get me started on all the feels the morning of. It’s one of my most vivid childhood memories, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. We are often far too young even to consider, let alone comprehend the darker side of circuses during our prime circus-going years. Fortunately, it seems as though the world is finally asking questions, as did I when I began to recognize the mistreatment that the animals inevitably face. Sadly enough, it is not only during the training and performances but even on their days off as they travel from one big spectacular, greatest show on earth to another. The expansion of technology and social media has definitely played a significant role in the increased awareness of animal cruelty, including but not limited to circuses and other major attractions. If you are unaware of the abusive nonsense and bullhook (get it?) that these imprisoned animals commonly face, a quick google search will do you good. I, instead, want to celebrate the positive waves being made as the world’s opinion of the circus begins to shift. Because... GUESS WHAT?! *Cue drumroll, dramatic announcements, thrilling music, loud roars, strobe lights, and dancing clowns* Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of all ages, after 146 years, Ringling Bros Circus and Barnum & Bailey officially shut down in May of 2017. DONE-ZO! BUH-BYE! *Cue the famous vanishing act* Also, over the years, various states have banned bullhooks and pitchforks, the sharp hurtful tools used to control the oppressed elephants. This year, New Jersey and Hawaii passed state laws that prohibited the use of all wild animals. Recently, Massachusetts, California, and Pennsylvania also announced similar legislation. Worldwide, over 40 countries have banned the use of some or all animals in circuses. 7 US states and 149 other localities within 39 states have passed bans or restrictions on the use of wild animals in circuses. As for the UK, The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs confirmed that the use of wild animals in circuses will be officially banned by January 2020. So, I’d say we are definitely moving in the right direction, and that is something to celebrate!!! Unfortunately, though, a handful of circuses are still touring around the clock and around the globe. With a little research, I was able to find the names of the current acrobatic entertainment events that do NOT involve animals. Those with the best reputations included Flynn Creek Circus, Cirque Du Soleil, Circus Vargas, Wanderlust, Silver’s Circus, and Moscow State Circus. If you have any personal recommendations on other acrobatic or theatrical entertainment events, please let us know in the comments below. If you have had the opportunity to attend one, you better tell us all about it! Even with no interest in attending a show, you can always help by spreading the word about these alternative, yet still spectacular performances. They are just as unique and captivating as a circus, but better because they don’t harm animals! Animal lovers must continue working together to take away any remaining influence the once-so-loud-and-powerful ringmaster has; we are the ones running the show now! And no longer will we ignore the elephant in the (circus) room!