By Julie Tomascik

The Greatest Show On Earth will fold up its tent for the final time in May. Marking the end of a 146-year tour that brought animals and a captivating experience to life under the Big Top.

The circus’ storied history will come to an end after facing a tough few years.

No doubt video games and the internet attributed to the decrease in attendance. But the main reason the Big Top is closing? Animal rights activists like the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) and PETA.

They set their sights, and their dollars, on shutting down Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Ticket sales for the iconic venue plummeted as the elephants were retired. A move that was forced on them by activist groups and local elephant bans.

But Ringling Bros. fought a good fight. They even won a $15.75 million settlement in litigation against HSUS.

It wasn’t enough.

And that’s downright scary.

HSUS and PETA used your money, if you chose to donate to them, to fight the circus. To fight a night of family entertainment. And they’ll keep shutting down your favorite activities.

Next on their list? Probably the aquariums. The zoo. And farmers and ranchers.

These groups hardly care for animals, according to HumaneWatch.org, a group that claims to keep a “watchful eye on HSUS.”

So, keep your money at home. Donate to your local shelter. Or volunteer your time.

And when it comes to livestock, ask a farmer or rancher. Because they don’t condone abuse. Animal care is a top priority and a tradition for many.

We can learn from Ringling Bros.’ last performance. If you own a pet or three, 10 cows or some fish, watch out. You could be the target of animal rights activists, too.

Julie Tomascik

Associate Editor

As a third generation rancher, I prefer the outdoors to the kitchen. After all, there’s no better feeling than dirt under my feet and wind whipping through my hair. But I’m slowly learning my way around the kitchen.

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