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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.)

This photo was taken the year I was
Reader Photo Credit: Unknown

This 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.

From 1989 again, more than 27 years of
Reader Photo Credit: Unknown

From 1989 again, more than 27 years of telling people that Ringling beats animals, and the message wasn't fully received until 2017

Pamela, Monica, and Josh at Ringling Bros. protest
Reader Photo Credit: Unknown passerby

Pamela, Monica, and Josh at Ringling Bros. protest in Phoenix Arizona.

Holly Marie Combs protesting Ringling Circus
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

Holly Marie Combs protesting Ringling Circus

Children lead Ringling Circus protest
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

Children lead Ringling Circus protest

Kids lead Ringling protest
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

Kids lead Ringling protest

Jillian Michaels Protesting Ringling Circus
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

Jillian Michaels Protesting Ringling Circus

Ringling Bros Protest, Phoenix, 2015
Reader Photo Credit: Carrie LeBlanc, Las Vegas

Ringling Bros Protest, Phoenix, 2015

Las Vegas Ringling Protest
Reader Photo Credit: Carrie LeBlanc, Las Vegas

Las Vegas Ringling Protest

Kelly & Kat protesting in Norfolk, Virginia
Reader Photo Credit: Kelly Fidler, Chesapeake, VA

Kelly & Kat protesting in Norfolk, Virginia

Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION) protests Ringling
Reader Photo Credit: Long Island Orchestrating for Na

Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION) protests Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at Nassau Coliseum in Hempstead, NY.

Children, some in costume, stand up against the
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

Children, some in costume, stand up against the in Los Angeles in 2014.

A group of activists in 1990 hold a
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

A group of activists in 1990 hold a huge sign explaining why we should never attend the circus.

Woman walks with the group of protesters holding
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

Woman walks with the group of protesters holding sign showing elephant forced to perform for the circus. Taken in 1992 in D.C.

Children in Los Angeles in 2014 lead a
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

Children in Los Angeles in 2014 lead a protest against Ringling Bros. circus.

Activists dress up as animal prisoners showing how
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

Activists dress up as animal prisoners showing how Ringling Bros holds animals captive like prisoners. Taken in 1992 in D.C.

Lauren A.R. Koslow posing outside US Cellular Center
Reader Photo Credit: Michael 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.

This is me and an elephant friend at
Reader Photo Credit: Judy Kaplowitz, Norfolk, VA

This 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.

Opening Night Demo 2015, Hampton, Virginia
Reader Photo Credit: Michelle Diamond Hampton, Virgin

Opening Night Demo 2015, Hampton, Virginia

Opening night demo, 2014 Norfolk, Virginia
Reader Photo Credit: Michelle Diamond Hampton, Virgin

Opening night demo, 2014 Norfolk, Virginia

Robbyn Taylor, along with other protesters, take part
Reader Photo Credit: Katie Arth, Los Angeles

Robbyn Taylor, along with other protesters, take part in a demonstration in 2010 in Washington DC.

Robbyn Taylor participates in an anti-circus entry in
Reader Photo Credit: Katie Arth, Los Angeles

Robbyn Taylor participates in an anti-circus entry in Atlanta's Pride Parade in October 2013.

Protesting RBBB Circus at United Center in November
Reader Photo Credit: Jesse in Chicago, IL

Protesting RBBB Circus at United Center in November 2016.

Me at my first circus protest!
Reader Photo Credit: Michelle, Denver

Me at my first circus protest!

Protester in
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

Protester in "chains" to protest circus abuse of elephants

Actresses Renee Olstead & Megan Park protesting Ringling
Reader Photo Credit: PETA, Los Angeles, CA

Actresses Renee Olstead & Megan Park protesting Ringling Bros. Circus.

PETA
Reader Photo Credit: Ashley Byrne

PETA "elephant" follows President Obama to the Late Show asking him to call on the USDA to confiscate Ringling's suffering elephants.

Ellie the mechanical elephant giving a presentation at
Reader Photo Credit: Unkown

Ellie 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.

Protesting the saddest show on earth with Ellie,
Reader Photo Credit: Joshua, Cleveland

Protesting the saddest show on earth with Ellie, PETA's mechanical elephant.

A massive protest against Ringling Bros. Circus in
Reader Photo Credit: Unkown

A massive protest against Ringling Bros. Circus in 2011 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Delilah Williamson (L) and Mary Beth Collins protesting
Reader Photo Credit: Indiana 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.

I'm protesting outside the Verizon Center in DC-
Reader Photo Credit: Taylor Mason

I'm protesting outside the Verizon Center in DC- one of the countless demonstrations I've done in the last 7 years against Ringling Bros.

Overjoyed to never have to protest cruel Ringling
Reader Photo Credit: Annie Leal, Los Angeles, CA

Overjoyed to never have to protest cruel Ringling Brothers again! <3

A family posing for picture after learning about
Reader Photo Credit: Emily Rohr from Lexington, Kentu

A 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.

Claudine Erlandson, Stephanie Bell, and Amy Webster--all of
Reader Photo Credit: Stephanie Bell, SeaTac, WA (at t

Claudine 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.

This is my son Mikey (4 years old
Reader Photo Credit: Jenee Sheffield, Virginia Beach

This 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.

Protesting Ringling Brothers Cruelty.
Reader Photo Credit: robbie thomas Huntsville

Protesting Ringling Brothers Cruelty.

Dozens of compassionate citizens protesting the cruel Ringling
Reader Photo Credit: Kimberly Spiegel, Norfolk, VA

Dozens of compassionate citizens protesting the cruel Ringling Bros Circus in Norfolk, VA, because animals are not ours to use for entertainment!

Local magician, Matt Bruce, and a teenage boy
Reader Photo Credit: Amy Meyer, Salt Lake City

Local 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.

My friend Amber (right) and me (left) protesting
Reader Photo Credit: Alexa Neidigh, Bloomington India

My 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.

Absolute favorite memory. I'm so glad you're letting
Reader Photo Credit: IARA

Absolute favorite memory. I'm so glad you're letting the animals go free, thank you, after 146 years of torture they're saved.

My happiest moment of Ringling Bros.and Barnum &
Reader Photo Credit: Fellow Protester

My 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."

Activists protesting Ringling Bros. cruelty in Los Angeles
Reader Photo Credit: Keith Burgeson, Brooklyn, NY

Activists protesting Ringling Bros. cruelty in Los Angeles in summer 2014.

Carley Bowering and Michelle Feinberg protesting Ringling's abuse
Reader Photo Credit: Stephanie Shaw; Indiana

Carley Bowering and Michelle Feinberg protesting Ringling's abuse of animals; 2015.

Protesting RBBB Circus November 2016 at United Center
Reader Photo Credit: Jesse in Chicago, IL

Protesting RBBB Circus November 2016 at United Center because animals are not ours for entertainment.

Jean White at a circus protest in 2015
Reader Photo Credit: Passerby (name unknown), using m

Jean White at a circus protest in 2015

Been protesting Ringling Bros for almost 4 years.
Reader Photo Credit: Abraham Santamaria

Been 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.

My fiance and I are protesting the exploitation
Reader Photo Credit: Tim Murray. Pittsburgh PA

My fiance and I are protesting the exploitation and cruelty towards animals caused by circuses. Pittsburgh PA

Good Riddance Ringling Bros.
Reader Photo Credit: John

Good Riddance Ringling Bros.

Slc ut
Reader Photo Credit: Vegans united

Slc ut

protesting ringlings cruelty.
Reader Photo Credit: robbie thomas

protesting ringlings cruelty.

Kings Don't Belong in Cages
Reader Photo Credit: Michelle Diamond Hampton, Virgin

Kings Don't Belong in Cages

Protesting Ringling in Allentown, PA.
Reader Photo Credit: Maura McKeon, Allentown, PA

Protesting Ringling in Allentown, PA.

LA resident Mel M protests Ringling Bros. Circus
Reader Photo Credit: Renee Saldana, Los Angeles

LA resident Mel M protests Ringling Bros. Circus in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles in July 2014.

Speaking up for animals abused by Ringling at
Reader Photo Credit: Brittny Hopwood, Texas

Speaking up for animals abused by Ringling at 5 months pregnant, and with my daughter at 9 months and 18 months.

Hayden Hamilton of PETA distributes free anti-circus coloring
Reader Photo Credit: Lindsay Dadko, Oakland, CA

Hayden Hamilton of PETA distributes free anti-circus coloring books to would-be circus patrons in Los Angeles outside the Staples Center in 2011.

Protesting Ringling in Birmingham, AL with my then
Reader Photo Credit: Matt Eckmann Atlanta, GA

Protesting Ringling in Birmingham, AL with my then 4 year old daughter and friend. It was below freezing, but our fierce love for animals kept us out there for hours.

Protesting Ringling Bros Circus in Norfolk, VA, we
Reader Photo Credit: Daniel Carron, Norfolk, VA

Protesting Ringling Bros Circus in Norfolk, VA, we are sad because they force animals to perform. While in transit, the animals are confined to boxcars, trailers, or trucks, where they may not have access to basic necessities, such as food, water, and veterinary care. Elephants are chained, and big cats are imprisoned in cramped, filthy cages, in which they eat, drink, sleep, defecate, and urinate?all in the same place. And there?s no relief once the animals reach a venue, where they remain caged and are chained in arena basements and parking lots.

Robbyn Taylor, along with other protesters, take part
Reader Photo Credit: Katie Arth, Los Angeles

Robbyn Taylor, along with other protesters, take part in a demonstration in 2010 in Washington DC.

A teen poses at a PETA protest against
Reader Photo Credit: Emily Rohr from Lexington, Kentu

A teen poses at a PETA protest against Ringling Brothers Circus outside the Staples Center in Los Angles.

Local activists protesting Ringling's animal abuse.
Reader Photo Credit: Maura McKeon, Allentown, PA

Local activists protesting Ringling's animal abuse.

My daughter and her friend at the Ringling
Reader Photo Credit: Molly Nicoletta, Seattle WA

My daughter and her friend at the Ringling Brother's circus...they decided not to go in because of the cruelty.

Circus protest in Norfolk, VA
Reader Photo Credit: Unsure

Circus protest in Norfolk, VA

Stacie, Sheila , Jenny and Marlena protesting in
Reader Photo Credit: Passerby

Stacie, Sheila , Jenny and Marlena protesting in fort smith Arkansas

Circus protest
Reader Photo Credit: unsure

Circus protest

3 generations of family doing outreach to others
Reader Photo Credit: Allstate Arena

3 generations of family doing outreach to others about the lives of animals in Ringling Brothers circus. We do not believe animals should be used for entertainment. They should be free and treated with love.

Protesting RBBB Circus Allstate Arena
Reader Photo Credit: Jesse in Chicago, IL

Protesting RBBB Circus Allstate Arena

PETA
Reader Photo Credit: Katie Arth

PETA "elephant" follows President Obama during 2012 debates asking him to call on the USDA to confiscate Ringling's suffering elephants.

Elephant and Bear mascot costumes protest circus use
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

Elephant and Bear mascot costumes protest circus use of animals

Elephant mascot costume protests circus use of elephants
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

Elephant mascot costume protests circus use of elephants

Caged
Reader Photo Credit: PETA, Norfolk, VA

Caged "tiger" protesting Ringling Bros. circus with message "wild animals don't belong behind bars."

Animal mascot costumes protest circus use of animals
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

Animal mascot costumes protest circus use of animals

Actress Renee Olstead protesting Ringling Bros. Circus.
Reader Photo Credit: PETA, Los Angeles, CA

Actress Renee Olstead protesting Ringling Bros. Circus.

Animal rights activists call attention to Ringling's abuse
Reader Photo Credit: Unknown

Animal rights activists call attention to Ringling's abuse of animals.

Actresses Renee Olstead & Megan Park protesting Ringling
Reader Photo Credit: PETA, Los Angeles, CA

Actresses Renee Olstead & Megan Park protesting Ringling Bros. Circus.

Animal rights activists stage protest to help circus-goers
Reader Photo Credit: Unknown

Animal rights activists stage protest to help circus-goers visualize the cruel treatment of animals at the hands of Ringling Bros.

A circus protester sitting in a cage with
Reader Photo Credit: unknown

A circus protester sitting in a cage with a sign that reads "No One Likes a Cage: Boycott Ringling Circus" alongside a "tiger".

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