Ringling Bros circus Mario Tama / Getty Images
NEW YORK - JUNE 18: Elephants perform on opening night of the Coney Island Boom A Ring! presented by Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus June 18, 2009 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The famed circus is performing at the storied amusement mecca Coney Island for the first time ever this summer through September 7. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Animal rights activists bring down the circus Big Top

The lions, tigers, elephants and clowns of the iconic Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will soon be out of a job. Why should beef producers care?

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be no more as of May this year. The iconic circus announced that the big tent will fold up for good. The internet, video games and all the other attributes of the information era may in part have helped to end the circus era. Yet, while the circus may not hold the excitement for the country that it once did, that is only part of the story.

Animal rights activists set their sights on the circus. Animal rights groups were caught paying a former circus worker to fabricate false claims about animal abuse, and eventually were forced to pay more than $25 million for their malicious litigation attempts. So the animal rights activists may have lost a few battles, but they were able to win the war.

Last year, the remaining elephants were retired to their own preserve in Florida, and the circus was never the same. Ticket sales plummeted as animals were removed from the show.

While the animal rights crowd reportedly was dancing in the hallways with the news of the demise of the circus, one must wonder what they truly won. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and most of the animal rights movement have been able to portray the image that they are about preventing animal abuse and helping animals, primarily pets. The reality may never have matched the perception, but that has been the perception nonetheless.

The billions they have raised and invested in their movement to eliminate animal agriculture and ultimately human interaction with animals has resulted in many hard-fought victories for their group. Yet, with each victory, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to claim that their political agenda aligns with that of their supporters.

People want to provide shelter and food for mistreated animals. I’m not sure they want to bring an end to the circus or put American farmers and ranchers out of business. Yet, animal rights activists have another hide to tack on the wall. Animal agriculture should be worried, because their sights will increasingly be focused on us.

I just have to wonder if, with each victory, they don’t inch a little bit closer to having be honest with their supporters about their objectives and goals. There are certainly those who share their agenda, but what would happen if, instead of trying to figure out how to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars they raise each year, animal activist groups end up having to rely on funding only from those who support their true agenda? Should that happen, they might be more worried about keeping the lights on. Who knows? Someday they might have to spend 10% of their budget actually helping animals,

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