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 with Rob Miskosky

The Animal-Rights Movement

“As of May, the saddest show on earth for wild animals will end. Ringling is closing! 36 years of PETA protests of documenting animals left to die, beaten animals, and much more, has reduced attendance to the point of no return.” – Pamela Anderson, PETA

“After 36 years of PETA protests, which have awoken the world to the plight of animals in captivity, PETA heralds the end of what has been the saddest show on earth for wild animals, and asks all other animal circuses to follow suit, as this is a sign of changing times.” – Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA

“After much evaluation and deliberation, my family and I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will hold its final performances in May of this year,” wrote Kenneth Feld in an announcement on the company’s website. “We know Ringling Bros. isn’t only our family business, but also your family tradition.”

After 146 years of bringing joy and excitement to families with their amazing performances, the “Greatest Show on Earth” is no more. And of course, animal-rights activists claimed a major victory. I guess putting 400 people out of work and nearly 50 animals, including tigers, lions, camels, donkeys, alpacas, kangaroos and llamas in need of homes is a good thing.
Animal-rights activists have been dogging Ringling Bros. for years, claiming they routinely beat their elephants and abused other animals. They even put up a website called where numerous accusations of abuse are made against the company. None of those accusations has ever been proven, even in the courts, where Feld Entertainment had to defend itself against many animal-rights groups in extended legal battles.
In 2014, after a 14-year litigation, Feld Entertainment won $25 million in settlements from animal-rights groups after it was proven the groups had been paying off their lead plaintiff, a former Feld Entertainment employee, more than $190,000. The judge went so far as to call the lawsuits filed against Feld Entertainment as “frivolous and vexatious.”
I find it sad that my granddaughter will never have the opportunity to enjoy a circus as my children did, as many of us did when we were children. But I find it even sadder that so many have been duped by animal-rights groups into believing that what they are doing is good. It’s not. These groups are little more than extortionists and racketeers looking to exploit people by using animals as the method.
The end of the “Greatest Show on Earth” is just a first step in the systematic campaign to end animal use.
The Calgary Stampede, the Canadian Finals Rodeo, and all rodeos are also in the sights of the animal-rights movement. According to the Vancouver Humane Society, “Fear, pain and stress are used to coerce animals into performing for the entertainment of human beings—a barbaric concept.”
Protesters are now common at rodeos just about everywhere, claiming that rodeos are animal abuse parading as entertainment.
Horse racing too is under attack, as is horse-drawn carriages, zoos including petting zoos, animals used in movies, hunting, fishing, trapping, farming, medical research and the list goes on.
Humans do have obligations to animals; there is no denying that. And we must ensure that true animal abuse is curbed—not perceived animal abuse. There is a difference. But that doesn’t give animals rights.
The end of Ringling Bros. may be considered a win for the animal-rights movement, but it really isn’t. As Kenneth Feld said, “It’s not a win for anyone.” ■

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