We are in a state of shock about this news, but very relieved that after 22 years of work here in Austin, the campaign against Ringling Bros. and Feld Entertainment is over.
We extend our gratitude to all of you who have supported this campaign over the very long years it took to get here. We extend our gratitude to our city council who banned the use of bullhooks in Austin in 2015. In particular, Council Member Kathie Tovo took the lead in city council for us, and we are forever grateful to her for her leadership. The bullhook ban in Austin, and in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and the eventual ban statewide in California and Rhode Island undoubtedly persuaded RBC that the times had changed and they could no longer operate in this country.
Though this is a victory, we must keep the pressure on other circuses, like the Ben Hur Shrine Circus, to retire all the animals in their circuses. And we also must keep pressure on Feld Entertainment to do what’s right for the animals currently kept in their circuses, and release them to sanctuaries. There’s still a danger Feld could sell or lease the animals to other circuses or zoos, which would put them in continued danger.
That said, we hope that other smaller circuses in the U.S. will follow in Ringling Bros Circus’ steps for the same reasons Ringling cited: animal rights campaigns have succeeded in educating the public about animal abuse in circuses, and that Ringling Bros’ circus model no longer works in this modern era of entertainment. It is likely that other businesses that use animals for entertainment such are SeaWorld, will now struggle to make their business model work. We look forward to their eventually demise.
Activism works, friends, so we ask that you continue to support our campaigns this year and in the coming years as we work to make Austin the most animal-friendly city in the USA.
-Ernest Samudio, president
-Erick Clark, vice-president
Action for Animals Austin