Morrissey's band wore "Ringling beats animals" t-shirts in 2012 (Wang Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts - October 5, 2012).
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (also known as the Ringling Bros. Circus, Ringling Bros., the Barnum & Bailey Circus, Barnum & Bailey, or simply Ringling) is an American traveling circus company billed as The Greatest Show on Earth. It and its predecessor have run shows from 1871, with a hiatus from 2017 to 2023. They operate as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. The circus started in 1919 when the Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth, a circus created by P. T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey, was merged with the Ringling Bros. World's Greatest Shows. The Ringling brothers had purchased Barnum & Bailey Ltd. in 1907 following Bailey's death in 1906, but ran the circuses separately until they were merged in 1919.After 1957, the circus no longer exhibited under its own portable "big top" tents, instead using permanent venues such as sports stadiums and arenas. In 1967, Irvin Feld and his brother Israel, along with Houston judge Roy Hofheinz, bought the circus from the Ringling family. In 1971, the Felds and Hofheinz sold the circus to Mattel, buying it back from the toy company in 1981. Since the death of Irvin Feld in 1984, the circus has continued to be a part of Feld Entertainment, an international entertainment firm headed by his son Kenneth Feld, with its headquarters in Ellenton, Florida.On May 21, 2017 (2017-05-21), with weakening attendance, many animal rights protests, and high operating costs, the circus performed its final animal show at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and closed indefinitely.On May 18, 2022, after a five-year hiatus, Feld Entertainment announced that the circus would resume touring in the fall of 2023, but without animals.