Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus protesters through the years
Not everyone who heads to the circus is there for fun and games. In Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's relatively recent history, animal activists including PETA have lined up outside the Big Top holding signs and dispersing information regarding treatment of the circus' elephants, tigers, lions and other animal performers.
Ringling Bros. stopped using Asian elephants in May 2016, and acknowledged the drastic drop in already-declining ticket sales is one reason the traveling troupe will end its 146-year run this year.
Here's a look at some of the circus' protesters through the years. You can submit your photos here. (Captions are submitted by readers who share their photos.)
reader photosUnknownThis photo was taken the year I was born. It's a reminder that compassionate people have been speaking out against the cruelty behind Ringling Bros. for more than 27 years, and that persistence pays off.
reader photosUnknownFrom 1989 again, more than 27 years of telling people that Ringling beats animals, and the message wasn't fully received until 2017
reader photosUnknown passerbyPamela, Monica, and Josh at Ringling Bros. protest in Phoenix Arizona.
reader photosunknownHolly Marie Combs protesting Ringling Circus
reader photosunknownChildren lead Ringling Circus protest
reader photosunknownKids lead Ringling protest
reader photosunknownJillian Michaels Protesting Ringling Circus
reader photosCarrie LeBlanc, Las VegasRingling Bros Protest, Phoenix, 2015
reader photosCarrie LeBlanc, Las VegasLas Vegas Ringling Protest
reader photosKelly Fidler, Chesapeake, VAKelly & Kat protesting in Norfolk, Virginia
reader photosLong Island Orchestrating for NaLong Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION) protests Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at Nassau Coliseum in Hempstead, NY.
reader photosunknownChildren, some in costume, stand up against the in Los Angeles in 2014.
reader photosunknownA group of activists in 1990 hold a huge sign explaining why we should never attend the circus.
reader photosunknownWoman walks with the group of protesters holding sign showing elephant forced to perform for the circus. Taken in 1992 in D.C.
reader photosunknownChildren in Los Angeles in 2014 lead a protest against Ringling Bros. circus.
reader photosunknownActivists dress up as animal prisoners showing how Ringling Bros holds animals captive like prisoners. Taken in 1992 in D.C.
reader photosMichael Koslow, (as with myself,Lauren A.R. Koslow posing outside US Cellular Center in Asheville NC in 2013 after a successful protest with two dozen participants, when we distributed educational literature, children's coloring books, and had conversations, some of which had immediate discouraging impact and others that may have sunk in later.
reader photosJudy Kaplowitz, Norfolk, VAThis is me and an elephant friend at a demonstration protesting against the cruel treatment of the animals who're forced to perform in circuses. Baby elephants are separated from their mothers, tied up, and beaten until they submit and learn to perform behaviors that don't come naturally to them such as standing on their heads. For the animals' sakes, I'm glad that Ringling is closing down.
reader photosMichelle Diamond Hampton, VirginOpening Night Demo 2015, Hampton, Virginia
reader photosMichelle Diamond Hampton, VirginOpening night demo, 2014 Norfolk, Virginia
reader photosKatie Arth, Los AngelesRobbyn Taylor, along with other protesters, take part in a demonstration in 2010 in Washington DC.
reader photosKatie Arth, Los AngelesRobbyn Taylor participates in an anti-circus entry in Atlanta's Pride Parade in October 2013.
reader photosJesse in Chicago, ILProtesting RBBB Circus at United Center in November 2016.
reader photosMichelle, DenverMe at my first circus protest!
reader photosunknownProtester in "chains" to protest circus abuse of elephants
reader photosPETA, Los Angeles, CAActresses Renee Olstead & Megan Park protesting Ringling Bros. Circus.
reader photosAshley ByrnePETA "elephant" follows President Obama to the Late Show asking him to call on the USDA to confiscate Ringling's suffering elephants.
reader photosUnkownEllie the mechanical elephant giving a presentation at a school. Ellie teaches the importance of being kind to all animals and why people shouldn't support circuses that use animals.
reader photosJoshua, ClevelandProtesting the saddest show on earth with Ellie, PETA's mechanical elephant.
reader photosUnkownA massive protest against Ringling Bros. Circus in 2011 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
reader photosIndiana Animal Rights Alliance,Delilah Williamson (L) and Mary Beth Collins protesting the Ringling Bros. Circus in Indianapolis, IN in front of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, December 1, 2016.
reader photosTaylor MasonI'm protesting outside the Verizon Center in DC- one of the countless demonstrations I've done in the last 7 years against Ringling Bros.
reader photosAnnie Leal, Los Angeles, CAOverjoyed to never have to protest cruel Ringling Brothers again! <3
reader photosEmily Rohr from Lexington, KentuA family posing for picture after learning about the cruelty that happens to animals at circuses during a PETA protest against Ringling Brothers outside of the Staples Center.
reader photosStephanie Bell, SeaTac, WA (at tClaudine Erlandson, Stephanie Bell, and Amy Webster--all of SEA--protesting Ringling in Tacoma, WA in 2012. One of countless circus protests the three of us have attended over the past two decades. Whenever Ringling came to town, we were there to speak out against their despicable abuses.
reader photosJenee Sheffield, Virginia BeachThis is my son Mikey (4 years old in photo) helping educate circus goers in Norfolk last spring about the cruelty that goes on at the circus. He was really excited to tell the other kids they shouldn't go to the circus since they hurt animals.
reader photosrobbie thomas HuntsvilleProtesting Ringling Brothers Cruelty.
reader photosKimberly Spiegel, Norfolk, VADozens of compassionate citizens protesting the cruel Ringling Bros Circus in Norfolk, VA, because animals are not ours to use for entertainment!
reader photosAmy Meyer, Salt Lake CityLocal magician, Matt Bruce, and a teenage boy in an elephant costume gave a free show to everyone boycotting animal cruelty outside the Ringling Circus in September 2010.
reader photosAlexa Neidigh, Bloomington IndiaMy friend Amber (right) and me (left) protesting Ringling Brothers in 2015. It was a powerful annual tradition. There were always ticket holders who talked to us and decided to not go to the performance, their stories are a wonderful reminder to standing up for what is right.
reader photosIARAAbsolute favorite memory. I'm so glad you're letting the animals go free, thank you, after 146 years of torture they're saved.
reader photosFellow ProtesterMy happiest moment of Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey is protesting them outside of their "shows." RBBB is now known for stealing baby animals from their mothers and using bullhooks and whips to make the animals do unnatural acts out of fear of punishment. As people became more aware of RBBB's training methods, their ticket sales declined and led them to "shutting their doors."
reader photosKeith Burgeson, Brooklyn, NYActivists protesting Ringling Bros. cruelty in Los Angeles in summer 2014.
reader photosStephanie Shaw; IndianaCarley Bowering and Michelle Feinberg protesting Ringling's abuse of animals; 2015.
reader photosJesse in Chicago, ILProtesting RBBB Circus November 2016 at United Center because animals are not ours for entertainment.
reader photosPasserby (name unknown), using mJean White at a circus protest in 2015
reader photosAbraham SantamariaBeen protesting Ringling Bros for almost 4 years. I'm glad they are going away. It's about time. Any company that hurts or kills animals deserves the same fate.
reader photosTim Murray. Pittsburgh PAMy fiance and I are protesting the exploitation and cruelty towards animals caused by circuses. Pittsburgh PA
reader photosJohnGood Riddance Ringling Bros.
reader photosVegans unitedSlc ut