Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Tigers back by popular demand - it's what the public wants to see says circus
An American circus that raises money for good causes is bringing back its tigers and elephants thanks to popular demand.
The Melha Shrine Circus, which supports charities including children's hospitals, lost money for the first time in its 63-year history last year, after dropping animal acts in the face of protests.
"We had people asking for refunds after finding out there were no animals," says circus chairman Allen Zippin, who has brought back elephants, tigers and dogs.
The news comes as America's longest-running circus, Ringling, prepares to pack its trunk after a fall-off in ticket sales following the retirement of its elephants last year - and proves that if circuses want to survive they have to please their friends not their enemies.
Animal rights protesters often argue that all-human shows like Cirque du Soleil don't need animal acts to thrill. But when the circuses they complain about stop using animals, those same protesters clearly don't support them by buying tickets.
Protesters make a lot of noise in the media, circus fans a lot less so. But as the Melha Shrine Circus has found, the ring of the cash register speaks louder than the shouts at the gate.