Letter to the Editor: 

The closing of the Ringling Bros. Circus isn’t just a sad day for families who enjoy seeing animals in person and the hundreds of workers who face layoffs. It also signifies that more institutions could be soon under attack from radical animal liberation activists who have a “by any means necessary” approach.

The Humane Society of the United States paid Ringling’s owner almost $11 million in 2014 to settle a racketeering lawsuit, which was brought after the organization was caught secretly paying a witness who lied in separate litigation against the circus. Yet it was still able to push local-level laws to hamstring the circus.

Consider that anti-circus activists like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which protested Ringling for over 30 years, also are against zoos and aquariums. They’re against farming that has livestock. And some are even against pet ownership, with the president of PETA calling pet ownership an “abysmal situation” and the head of the Humane Society saying, “I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.”

These groups are emboldened by Ringling’s demise. Anyone who owns a pet, appreciates visiting a zoo or enjoys a cheeseburger should be worried.

Will Coggin

Research director

Center for Consumer


Washington, D.C.