While the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey say they’re closing the curtains this May after declining ticket sales, veterinarian Dr. Ken Langelier says he’s breathing a sigh of relief.
He says he started the fight to ban the use of exotic animals more than 20 years ago.
Langelier says it all started in Nanaimo in 1992, when he worked with the SPCA to inspect the living conditions of circus animals.
“The tigers and lions were kept in a cage that was basically a four by eight foot bottom, you know I thought during the day they’re probably given more space to run, but of course, that wasn’t true.”
That’s when he teamed up with local humane organizations and went to Victoria, for the first successful ban.
“Victoria was the first, Nanaimo was the second. Then I went over to Vancouver and met with the city council and with the Vancouver Humane Society to put a proposal through… that again went through, and that was followed with Surrey and a number of other communities.”
He adds the closing is a milestone but not the end of the race, while small circuses and wild animal acts continue.