It's billed as the 'Greatest Show On Earth." Look around the Coast, and you'll see billboards with the smiling ringmaster telling you the Ringling Brothers circus is coming to the coast June 21st through the 23rd.
But the Humane Society of the United States is encouraging parents to think before taking their kids to the big top.
"The lives of circus animals are miserable," Senior Vice President Wayne Pacelle said. "They endure abusive training techniques that are necessary to maintain control over these wild animals."
The acting director of the Humane Society of South Mississippi agrees.
"They suffer because they are kept in small habitats all the time," Robin Bush said. "They're either in a small pen or in a railroad car travelling back and forth to different places, and that's not the life for a wild animal."
But a spokesperson for the circus says all of their animals are well treated.
"They have great lives with Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey, for we've been presenting animals for 132 years," Director of Corporate Communications Catherine Ort-Mabry said. "We're great experts. We give them 24 hour a day care, seven days a week."
Ringling Bros. says the circus strives to educate families about endangered animals and how they should be treated.
"The more I can help a kid understand that he or she can do something to help the endangered species, I think that's a great thing," Ort-Mabry said.
Ringling Brothers holds an open house 90 minutes before each show and encourages people to come out and decide for themselves how their animals are treated.
By Amanda Jones
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