Animal welfare activists have welcomed the announcement that Ringling Brothers Circus will cease its animal shows from May, citing a decline in ticket sales.
The curtain is coming down for the American business after 146 years.
Dwindling audience numbers combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise, the Associated Press reports.
The closure comes a year after the company removed elephants from its shows following mounting controversy.
Attendance has been dropping for 10 years, said Juliette Feld, whose family bought the circus in 1967. Feld added that when the elephants left, there was a “dramatic drop” in ticket sales.
Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International, said: “After decades of exposing the suffering of animals in circuses behind the scenes, we are pleased to hear that Ringlings has finally bowed to public opinion – it was a mistake for them not to see the trend away from animal shows to human-only performances over a decade ago.
“Circuses can survive without the animal performances.”