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Is There a Humane Alternative to Circus Animals?

The circus never comes to town anymore. With reports of ghastly animal cruelty and an ever-decreasing appetite for watching animals do tricks, circus companies like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey have gone out of business. More than 40 countries ave restricted, or banned, performances featuring animals. However, the circus may yet live on as a form of art and entertainment. The digital answer to this cultural loss has originated in Germany at performances of Circus Roncalli. Rather than forcing live animals to perform, this unique circus uses 3-D holograms to display elephants and other creatures eerily prancing around the Big Top.

And no animals are ever harmed:

  • The idea came to Circus Roncalli founder Bernhard Paul during the NFL Super Bowl halftime show in 2018, where Justin Timberlake performed with a hologram of the late entertainer Prince.

  • Philip Astley is routinely credited with being the creator of the modern circus. In 1768, the first circus was staged in England. It included Astley demonstrating trick riding on horseback.

  • In 1871, P.T. Barnum staged the first U.S. circus in Brooklyn, called “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Ten years later, Barnum and new partner James Bailey introduced the now-famous three-ring circus.

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More Info: Smithsonian magazine

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