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Farewell to Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus


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#1 RememberSchiff

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 05:10 PM

This circus was older than the BSA, but whenever we took Cubs on numerous "scout nights" we felt young again.

 

 


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#2 Oldscout448

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 08:24 PM

"Ladies and gentlemen,children of all ages"

Saw it just last week after 50 some years. The pollen count must have been real high, I had to keep wipin my eyes
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#3 Stosh

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 08:36 AM

It's a sad day for America when such things cease to be because of the political dynamics hold sway over the entertainment value.  The last circus I saw (not RB&BB) was worth the opportunity.  It was set up at the local ball diamond in a small town and the elephant was used to pull the canvas to the top of the poles.  That's something event he civic center circuses don't provide.  At least my children got the opportunity.  It's a shame my grandchildren won't.


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#4 Col. Flagg

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 10:23 AM

I get the sentiment. I also get the "behind the scenes" concerns.

 

For the sake of argument...and by that I mean discussion...how would one reconcile their support of the circus with the whole LNT movement.? It's pretty hard to "leave only footprints" when you are taking a wild animal out of their habitat, training them to do unnatural things, etc.

 

Not trying to start anything. I am just curious as this is what I am struggling with myself. Curious how others who like the circus feel.


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#5 NJCubScouter

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 12:01 PM

I get the sentiment. I also get the "behind the scenes" concerns.

 

For the sake of argument...and by that I mean discussion...how would one reconcile their support of the circus with the whole LNT movement.? It's pretty hard to "leave only footprints" when you are taking a wild animal out of their habitat, training them to do unnatural things, etc.

 

Not trying to start anything. I am just curious as this is what I am struggling with myself. Curious how others who like the circus feel.

 

Well, there are a lot of things we humans do that "leave a trace" on nature.  Most of us (including me) eat animal flesh.  We (as a species, not each individual) cut trees to build things with or to clear land for other uses.  We destroy mountainsides to get minerals.  How do we decide what is ok?  I think we generally try to achieve a balance between how much we need (or think we need) something and how much damage it is going to do to everything else.  Most people would conclude that the things mentioned above are ok because they provide us with things we want or need, but in "modern times" we usually we try to do them within reasonable boundaries - such as not hunting or fishing a particular species to extinction, or trying to minimize the destructiveness of mining.  We (most of us) conclude, for example, that our desire to eat a steak or hamburger is more important than the life of any particular cow.  

 

So how does the circus fit into this?  For most of our history humans believed that our desire for entertainment justified hauling wild animals here and there, sometimes causing them pain, and sometimes causing them to die.  As consciousness of this issue has increased, I think generally the animals have probably been treated better, but now the balance has shifted to the point where the desire to reduce the impact on the animals is turning things like circuses into money-losing propositions.  In the balance, our entertainment is not quite as important as some of the other things I mentioned above.  So it's not just "leave no trace" (which I think is a misnomer anyway, there is no way to leave NO trace, it's really more like "leave as little trace as possible"), it's balancing that "trace" against our needs and desires.


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#6 Col. Flagg

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 12:41 PM

@NJCubScouter, personally I can justify things related to sustaining life as justifiable, as opposed to things that may impact the planet and resources (or other life forms) for recreation. As long as we plant trees (or attempt to) to replenish what we are using, that's okay. Farming animals or crops okay. Even hunting wild animals is okay, as long as it is done in a conserving manner.

 

I realize it is a matter of degree when talking about impact to the Earth. One could argue our mere existence or stepping outside will alter the environment or impact others. I'm trying to be a bit more reasonable.  :)

 

I like the circus. I like hunting. But as I get older I am finding it harder to enjoy either. The former is VERY difficult for me to reconcile as necessary, or even desirable. The latter, of course, can be justified for health and safety reasons.


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#7 NJCubScouter

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 01:14 PM

@NJCubScouter, personally I can justify things related to sustaining life as justifiable, as opposed to things that may impact the planet and resources (or other life forms) for recreation. As long as we plant trees (or attempt to) to replenish what we are using, that's okay. Farming animals or crops okay. Even hunting wild animals is okay, as long as it is done in a conserving manner.

 

I realize it is a matter of degree when talking about impact to the Earth. One could argue our mere existence or stepping outside will alter the environment or impact others. I'm trying to be a bit more reasonable.  :)

 

I agree with all that, it's the kind of "balancing" I am talking about.  You mention recreation, well there were probably trees where your local soccer or baseball field is, and for that matter where your house is.  (I suppose it depends on where you live; it certainly is true in my area that the site of virtually every building, recreation field and everything else was once covered by trees.)  Those areas cannot be re-planted with trees (except here and there) because we are using that land now.  But the balance changes over time.  The housing development where I live probably would not be laid out the same way today, there probably would be some uninterrupted "open space".

 

But we don't really need to have an elephant hauled from thousands of miles away to entertain us in a circus in our home town.  We can watch a documentary about elephants and view them in their native habitat, and when the film crew goes home, the elephants are left to their own devices.  Perhaps it's not as thrilling as seeing the elephants, up-close and personal, doing tricks for us in a circus, but it is better for the elephants.


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#8 Stosh

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 01:19 PM

Indian elephants have been domesticated for years.  Oxen, horses, donkeys, mules, sheep, chickens, etc, were all "wild" at one time.  Work animals, including elephants have been used by man for a lot longer than RB&BB.  There are show animals in a circus and there are working animals in the circus, sometimes they may be dual functioning.  An elephant used to put up the big top might also have an act in the circus, same for the humans working the show.  I'm thinking the big cats and smaller animals are probably the only animals that they haven't been able to put to work.  The whole demise of the circus is just for elephants..... all of which are domestic Indian elephants, the African variety are way to difficult to teach. 


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#9 qwazse

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 01:28 PM

.... But we don't really need to have an elephant hauled from thousands of miles away to entertain us in a circus in our home town.  We can watch a documentary about elephants and view them in their native habitat, and when the film crew goes home, the elephants are left to their own devices.  Perhaps it's not as thrilling as seeing the elephants, up-close and personal, doing tricks for us in a circus, but it is better for the elephants.


Or we can order the powder from their tusks from the Asian medicine shop.

Really, the world's elephants have far worse threats than being seen up close by children who mar, for touching them, grow up to be their cousin's protectors. Percentage wise, more Americans have touched and smelt African/Asian animals than Africans and Asians have. Sometimes I wonder if the Asian attitude is "We got it on video, that's good enough. Now mind your business, I need a male heir."
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#10 NJCubScouter

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 01:35 PM

If nothing else, this discussion is remarkable because there are now two threads going on at the same time where Col. Flagg and I seem to agree with each other.  :)


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#11 Col. Flagg

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 01:59 PM

If nothing else, this discussion is remarkable because there are now two threads going on at the same time where Col. Flagg and I seem to agree with each other.   :)

 

You jinxed. ;) I wasn't going to say anything and see how long the streak rolled.


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#12 Stosh

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 02:07 PM

Next thing to go is Amish farming. 


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#13 Col. Flagg

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 03:07 PM

Next thing to go is Amish farming. 

 

I don't know, they've out-lived the circus.  :p  ;)


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#14 Stosh

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 05:59 PM

I hear tell the animal rights people got in the faces of the Circus Maximus people and without those horses, it just wasn't the same.  Maybe that's where the Amish got their horses.  :)


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#15 gumbymaster

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 09:05 AM

I admit that I have not looked up references or sources on this in a long time ...

 

I have understood that for the last several decades at least, circuses and the like with live animals, the animals have generally been bred in captivity.  And while I understand that there have always been some horrific actions on the part of specific shows, the industry, in general, would treat the animals well and did not overtly abuse them.  Generally state level inspections would check on the welfare of the animals.

 

Now, I also understand that treated well, even if generally leading to much longer lifespans than those animals would have had in the wild, does not excuse that they are being treated well but in a way inconsistent with their natural instincts.  (i.e. cannot roam free, predators generally got prepared meat instead of hunting, etc.).  In this regard, even zoos are not much better.

 

I viewed one of the the biggest values in circus and zoos is that they exposed millions(?) of people to animals they realistically would never have been able to see in their lifetimes.  They also became ambassadors for the wild members of their species, allowing for those who did see the animals to personalize the need to preserve some of their natural habitat.  More so than zoos, the circus allowed people to really understand the intelligence that these animals were capable of; and of ways man and beast could co-exist.

 

I don't think I've seen RBB&B in 40+ years, although our family did tour the winter home site in Sarasota one summer.  I did take the family to see Cole brothers maybe 5 years ago.  I'm glad that they got to see how amazing these animals can be; but like many others here, I'm not sure how I feel about this in the end.  I am conflicted.  I've never been a fan of politically correct, just to be politically correct; but there is more at play here than that.

 

Imagine the hypothetical world where some animal communication was possible and then animals could choose domestication/labor/acting vs. the challenges of the wild.  I expect that, like the difference in people, the differences in the animals would have some choosing each path - then what would the these activists be left to complain about?

 

Going back to their Sarasota home, it is just amazing to me to think of the pre 1950's logistics that were involved in getting all the train cars, setting up the tents, homes, animal pens, local labor, advertising, etc. and turning that around to be set up in another town shortly afterwards.  It was literally like having Disneyland come to your town, set up in a day, stick around for two more, and then disappear for a year or two before they returned.


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#16 bearess

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 03:49 PM

I think they are all bred in captivity now, too. I'm a big fan of zoos, and I think they offer a lot of education around animals/threats that circuses don't.
I'm biased, because we have a great circus come to our town every summer that is only human performers-- kids love it. Heck, I love it!! So Imdont think a circus has to involve animals.
I will say, I took my older son to some small "travelling zoo" That set up in a grocery store parking lot when he was 3 or 4-- it was terrible. A tiger in a cage so small he couldn't turn around, etc. After that, I have made an effort to avoid anything where I have any concerns about animal welfare-- I still go to large zoos, but I avoid small zoos and circuses with animals like the plague.
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