My first circus was decades agao in fifth grade as the school scheduled an outing to Sioux City each year for the class as part of the regular curriculum.
It was something the kids all looked forward to as a perk to being in upper elementary. I’ve been to other circuses including the Dells in Baraboo, Wisconsin, which was their home base.
My last circus was last year when my wife arranged to take the grandkids to the circus in Sioux City. It appears to have been a good thing as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Baily circus announced that it was shutting down the big tent for good after 146 years of showmanship in May.
There are a number of reasons for the loss of this icon. Animal rights groups, such as HSUS and PETA, had hounded the circus claiming animal abuse even after losing a $15.75 million judgement to Ringling for racketeering for lying that Ringling miss-treated elephants.
They lost in court but they won the public relations perception that the circus mistreated animals. That’s what the donations that fools think they are giving to HSUS for saving puppies and kittens were really going to.
I believe that the circus gave animals meaningful lives while creating interest in animals’ welfare by the general public. Animal rights groups turned that asset into a liability, spreading false reports about the circus probably teaching the Russians how effective that it could be. Closing the circus was an economic issue.
The cost of production could not be covered by ticket sale proceeds. Dropping elephants from the show also discouraged some from attending. Ringling was caught in the vise squeezed by the idiots that believed the HSUS about the elephants and those that would not come to a circus without elephants.
With the loss of these acts, the quality of the circus deteriorated. There were a lot of empty seats at the presentation in Sioux City that we took the grandchildren to.
My parents could have probably named some star circus headliner of their era and that has gone by the wayside with no standout stars today.
PETA is celebrating the closing of the circus and will now have resources to devote to something else, like ending animal agriculture.
Ringling, Barnum and Baily were not the only circus to close recently. It is the end of an era, but the beginning of another.
Cirque Du Soleil has gone world-wide producing shows that in many ways feature performers that resemble circus acts featuring venues in 30 U.S. cities this year. I recommend it.
The circus is not coming to you, but I think that Circus World, a combination of a circus museum and Big Top, that still has elephants, is still operating in Baraboo, Wisconsin. I note that tickets are about $20 in Baraboo, while the Ringling shows were charging $25 to $125 and not filling seats.
I don’t think animal rights groups had as much impact as they think they had as families will just not pay that much given all of the competing sources of entertainment, some of which are free.
I think that it was competition for the entertainment dollar that caught up to them. It is extremely expensive for the circus to “move around” so there will still be circuses where they can anchor their costs to favorable locations.
The circus will live on.
I am going to hit this theme one more time … these animal rights groups are coming after animal agriculture in much the same way as they did the circus, with misinformation and by employing political correctness as a weapon.
Some cities barred Ringling from performing in them because of the elephants.
Wal-Mart, McDonalds and other food supply chains are using the HSUS to set production standards for the eggs, dairy and meat that they buy, closing their systems to others, which are designed to add costs to make meat expensive intending livestock production, will go the way of the circus.
If you don’t want to be like the circus, then livestock organizations had better wake up and take their conversation with these supply chains and the public to a new level.
P.T. Barnum co-created the “Greatest Show on Earth” as the circus ringmaster. President Trump is an admirer of P.T. Barnum saying that “we need P.T. Barnum a little bit, as we need to build up the image of our country.”
Barnum wrote “The Art of Making Money’ and Trump wrote “the Art of the Deal.”
Barnum quotes include:
A). “Nobody ever lost a dollar by underestimating the taste of the American people.”
B). “Be cautious and be bold.”
C). “The great ambition should be to excel all others engaged in the same occupation.”
D). “Fortune always favors the brave, and never helps the man who does not help himself.”
He never said, “There is a sucker born every minute” but instead quipped, “That the people like to be humbugged.”
You can see why our new president has a lot in common with him.
David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.