Reaction to Saturday's announcement that Ringling Bros. and Barnum Circus will cease operations in May has been mixed: Animals rights groups lauded the move, while celebrities and the general public had a mixed reaction.
The parent company of the circus, Feld Entertainment, said in a statement, "The decision to end the circus tours was made as a result of high costs coupled with a decline in ticket sales, making the circus an unsustainable business for the company. Following the transition of the elephants off the circus [last year], the company saw a decline in ticket sales greater than could have been anticipated."
Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a longtime opponent of the circus, said in a statement she welcomed its closure: "After 36 years of PETA protests, which have awoken the world to the plight of animals in captivity, PETA heralds the end [of the circus] and asks all other animal circuses to follow suit, as this is a sign of changing times."
The Humane Society of the United States' president and CEO, Wayne Pacelle, said, "I applaud their decision to move away from an institution grounded on inherently inhumane wild animal acts."
And The Humane League, a national farm animal protection nonprofit, tweeted, "The Ringling Brothers circus is shutting down after 146 years! Massive victory for animals!"
Actress Pamela Anderson tweeted, "IT'S OVER!" and linked to PETA's statement on her blog.
Basketball great Shaquille O'Neal was less enthused about the announcement, tweeting, "noooooo pls don't close whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy nooooooooo noooooooooo."
Comedian Jay Mohr also wasn't keen on the circus' shutdown, but offered a humorous take on the move, tweeting, "Ringling Brothers shutting down isn't a "Massive victory for the animals". It's a shame. Now where's an elephant go to get a nice hat?"
Ringling Brothers shutting down isn't a "Massive victory for the animals". It's a shame.— Jay Mohr (@jaymohr37) January 15, 2017
Now where's an elephant go to get a nice hat?
Mohr followed up with another tweet, writing, "2017 just took a dark turn. Ringling Brothers Circus closes leaving 2,500 unemployed clowns just roaming the streets."
2017 just took a dark turn.— Jay Mohr (@jaymohr37) January 15, 2017
Ringling Brothers Circus closes leaving 2,500 unemployed clowns just roaming the streets.
Former "Real Housewives of Miami" star and "Dancing With The Stars" contestant, model Joanna Krupa, expressed satisfaction about the announcement, tweeting, "The best news ever ! Thank god and all the animal lovers and groups who fought day and night for these angels!"
The best news ever ! Thank god and all the animal lovers and groups who fought day and night for these angels ! https://t.co/8yRnnLipaw— Joanna Krupa (@joannakrupa) January 15, 2017
Iconic "Star Trek" actor George Takei took the opportunity to express his disdain for president-elect Donald Trump, tweeting, "After 146 yrs, Ringling Bros will close 'Greatest Show on Earth.' That title now goes to the daily s***show coming from the President-elect."
After 146 yrs, Ringling Bros will close "Greatest Show on Earth." That title now goes to the daily shitshow coming from the President-elect.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) January 15, 2017
And while Trump has yet to comment about the circus' shuttering, he previously tweeted that he was unhappy about the circus' decision to remove elephants from its shows, ending years of tricks and synchronized dances.
In March 2015 he tweeted, "Ringling Brothers is phasing out their elephants. I,for one, will never go again. They probably used the animal rights stuff to reduce costs"
Ringling Brothers is phasing out their elephants. I,for one, will never go again. They probably used the animal rights stuff to reduce costs— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 5, 2015
And then in January 2016, Trump tweeted, ".@RinglingBros is retiring their elephants-- the circus will never be the same."
.@RinglingBros is retiring their elephants-- the circus will never be the same.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2016
Ringling Bros.' two circus units will conclude their tours with their final shows in Providence, R.I., on May 7, and at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., on May 21.