Captivity is justified only when it is of a rehabilitative and transitory nature. If the well-being of an animal is not the paramount concern, then what is taking place is animal abuse and exploitation.
One of the biggest circuses that was a thorn in the American animal rights movement was Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. For 146 years, Ringling Bros. profited off taking animals from their natural environment to lives of confinement in cages. These animals, shuttled from city to city, were deprived of anything that resembled their normal existence and were forced to perform for the public. The trainers were able to get wild animals to behave in ways contrary to their nature by beating them into submission.
Ringling originally performed in New York City at Madison Square Garden. In 2013, Ringling moved to the Barclay Center in Brooklyn. The members of what was going to become the Animals' Battalion protested their tour there. By 2014, the Animals' Battalion was officially created and was there to oppose Ringling Bros. and its patrons and to educate the public on circus abuse. During its 5 year contract with Barclay's, the Animals' Battalion was there in force amidst inclement winter weather on EVERY SINGLE DAY THAT RINGLING FORCED ANIMALS TO PERFORM.
Ringling Bros. was opposed throughout the United States for many, many years by various generations of activists and animal rights groups. Wherever Ringling Bros toured, there was some form of animal rights opposition waiting to protest them. All this hard work and public outreach was slowly beginning to chip away at Ringling Bros.' profits. By 2016, Ringling stopped using elephants. This was soon followed by an announcement that they would shut down their operation in 2017. Diminishing attendance and high operating costs finally defeated Ringling Bros. Their last performance was at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island, NY on May 21, 2017. The Animals' Battalion was there on that historic day.
Had Ringling Bros. made the decision to become an animal free circus, it would have been spared from having been opposed by the entire American animal rights movement. They may have missed an opportunity to survive into the future and even been endorsed by switching to a humane business model.
Ringling Bros. was defeated by a nationwide movement. The Animals' Battalion is proud to have been one of many groups that fought the good fight and did their part in slaying this animal abuser. We are also very happy to mention that on June 21, 2017, New York City issued a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses (A.8157A / S.7718A), thus bringing to a very joyous conclusion one of our toughest campaigns.