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Circus CEO says Ringling Brothers closing is not a win for anyone

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Circus World believes activists don’t have a good point-of-view basis.

The closing of the Ringling Brothers Circus should not be considered a “win” for animal-rights activists.

The CEO of the circus says it’s “not a win for anyone,” for the show with roots in southern Wisconsin to go out of business after almost 150 years.

A spokesman for Circus World in Baraboo, Wis., Dave SaLoutos believes that most circus audiences like seeing animals in the show.

“Obviously the people have spoken and they don’t,” SaLoutos said. “They want to see a circus with animals.”

SaLoutos thinks that groups like PETA, which have campaigned to eliminate elephants and other animals from circuses, may not know the whole story.

“There most definitely are a few very vocal people that don’t want to see it but, again, they don’t really have a good basis for their point of view,” he said. “If they would actually witness the care that some of these animals get, they would understand a whole lot better.”

PETA put out this statement after the news the Ringling Brothers Circus was closing:

“All other animal circuses, roadside zoos, and wild animal exhibitors, including marine amusement parks like SeaWorld and the Miami Seaquarium, must take note: society has changed, eyes have been opened, people know now who these animals are, and we know it is wrong to capture and exploit them.

Thank you to everyone who has picked up a protest sign, passed out leaflets, written letters, shared videos, called legislators, spoken to family, and been part of this relentless pursuit of freedom for animals. This would not have happened without you.”

In regards to elephants, specifically, PETA published posted this on its website.

As for Circus World, SaLoutos says it does not own the animals featured during its circus performances in the spring and summer.

The Ringling family lived, for a time, in Prairie du Chien, Wis., before eventually settling in Baraboo, where they officially launched a circus business.

SaLoutos says circuses provide fantasy for their audiences, while also exposing them to animals and culture from around the world.

“With Ringling closing their performances, our position is even that much more important – to preserve this legacy and this heritage for all of us,” he said.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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