With or without animals? Circus industry leaders weigh in on future of acts - CircusTalk

Circus News

With or without animals? Circus industry leaders weigh in on future of acts

BARABOO, Wis. (WMTV) – The “Greatest Show on Earth” may be coming back, but some of its greatest show-stoppers will not.

After a shutdown in 2017, the company behind the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus said officials are planning for the production’s return without animals.

The circus used animals over its 146-year history, according to Scott O’Donnell, director of Baraboo’s Circus World Museum.

“There’s no way that it could be the same,” he said on the forthcoming production. “But that’s not a negative point of view at all. The wonderful thing about the circus is the reinvention of itself, to really tell stories in dynamic ways, sometimes with animals, sometimes with not.”

Court battles with animal rights activists led to an end of elephant acts at Ringling Bros. in 2016. Curtains fell as parent company Feld Entertainment Inc. cited high operating costs and declining ticket sales.

“As they say, as we’ve always said in the American circus, the show must go on,” Johnathan Lee Iverson, the circus’s last ringmaster, told NBC15.

Iverson is now ringmaster at Omnium: A Bold New Circus, based in the Washington D.C. area. He had a 17-year tenure with the Ringling Bros.

“It’s always been a great day when we’ve had animals in the show,” Iverson said. “That’s me personally. I’m a traditionalist. I love seeing the glory of animals in the circuses. But if that’s not your thing, hey, there are other offerings out there for you.”  …

Link to full article at NBC15.