A Question All Activists Must Keep in Mind: “…and THEN what?”

Hello, all you beautiful beings!

The animal rights online community is abuzz with the announcement today that Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Circus will be shutting down this year. Ringling’s last show will be in May, and the reported reason for the decision is declining ticket sales, which dropped even more after Ringling retired their elephant performances last year.

Many of my fellow animal rights activists have been celebrating the news, and to be sure, it’s good news for the animals who have been exploited by Ringling Bros. (and FELD Entertainment, the owner of the circus). But something I’ve noticed missing from a lot of conversations is…and THEN what? What’s going to become of the animals used in Ringling Bros. performances? While it’s unfortunate that the human circus performers (the acrobats, the clowns, and the other artists) will be out of a job, they’re talented people who can find other work. Tigers, lions, camels, pigs, donkeys, kangaroos, and other nonhuman animals forced to be circus performers don’t have that option.

My point is simply this: it’s one thing to try to get a circus, rodeo, other other show to close or at least stop forcing animals to perform. Doing the best we can to stop animals being mistreated is great, but what then? The animals’ lives will (hopefully) go on after Ringling. As animal activists, we should care about where they go from there.

This is why I encourage all of you who care about animals to contact Ringling Bros. and FELD Entertainment to urge them to send their animals to farm and wildlife sanctuaries to live out the rest of their days. I’ve already made posts on my Facebook page and Twitter feed, and I urge all of you to be polite and civil (because no matter what you feel about these companies, we need to get them to actually want to listen to us).

Thank you for reading, and as always, peace, love, and stay hydrated!

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