This is a great lesson to businesses in general - know if your critics are actually your core customers. The overlap between people who protested elephants and the people who attended the circus was pretty small. The company ended up listening to a very vocal minority and then lost a lot of business from the quiet group of customers for whom the elephants were the major draw and who then stopped buying tickets.
This also applies to open source projects and brings to mind DHH's article http://david.heinemeierhansson.com/2012/rails-is-omakase.htm...
I have fond memories of the Circus Parade in Milwaukee when I was a child, but it was relying on the animals to draw people in for the most part, and the training done for the animals really isn't good. Vocal critics not being attendees is somewhat irrelevant in this case (and in many cases), because the core activity is what is wrong; it's not just a matter of preference.
When it comes to invidivual preferences, there is some wisdom to "appease the core audience, ignore the rest". But there are a lot of cases that aren't as neatly covered by such sentiment as some seem to think
Tell that to all the illegal renters on AirBnB.
Edit: sorry that was a bit flip, but I don't think the conundrum is as easy as either of you have posed it.
So. > If what attracts the core customers is wrong in and of itself, it's not an excuse to continue it.
"Being cruel to elephants" is to "Running a circus" as
"Breaking Hotel laws in your city" is to "Running an AirBnb listing"
Both of these things are something "Wrong" that are done as a core part of a business.
Now, I have no idea what jgalt's actual conclusion is, his post was wrapped in some combination of sarcasm and "well they do it too!!!". But his conclusion is probably to open a single-man copper mine in the mountains.
It's the same thing with Sea World, after watching Blackfish on Netflix we decided against visiting Sea World during our trip to Florida. We didn't write letters or post about it on Facebook, just silently declined to visit it.
and of course they will never be satisfied, making 'documentaries' and collecting donations is big business. they wont ever say 'well there is no more good to do, lets close doors'. They will just take their agenda to the next victim.
I am a beekeeper. PETA says I exploit the bees and steal honey from the rightful owners. So we disagree.
Nonetheless PETA does a public service by working to expose behind-the-scenes treatment of animals. You can derive your own moral conclusion of their findings. Most people find this treatment abusive. I agree with them.
I'm sure there's a range, and I've no strong feelings in either direction on the matter (had great wagyu beef last night), but I do believe there is probably a good bit of inhumane treatment in our food supply chain, sadly enough.
There are certainly differing opinions on what constitutes animal cruelty and is moral or immoral [e.g., killing and eating them]. So what is "right" is not so clear cut.
What does this kind of argument say about the morality slavery in 1860? Opinions were strongly divided, therefore was it not so clear cut?
Case in point: Most everyone is opposed to people owning people, but very few are opposed to people owning other animals.
Can you give me a test that will definitely say if a being is sentient or not that doesn't basically boil down to "is this being a human or not?"
> Case in point: Most everyone is opposed to people owning people, but very few are opposed to people owning other animals.
There have been cultures where "very few people" were opposed to human sacrifice. This is meaningless as an argument.
When we got home I found a copy of  and my wife and I got pretty nostalgic.
I've been thinking a bit lately about how nothing's the same for him as when I was growing up. These experiences that we can share between generations are special.
In this case, the people protesting aren't people who would have paid for the show anyhow. If you make the show worse to please them, you haven't actually gained anything financially.
Ethics and morals are a different discussion, but IMO you shouldn't need protesters to know your own ethical/moral stance.
As the negative impact on the circus business in the case at hand shows, you can't separate the ethics and morals from the business model, just like with slavery-based cotton production. "Yeah, you may be right, but let's put the morals of slavery aside while we're discussing the bottom line of my plantation" will not fly.
Rail cars are 'certified' to run on Class 1 railroads for 40 years post-build, and once they reach 40 years old they need to be inspected and have their running gear rebuilt. This allegedly costs around $150,000 per car, and only certifies the car for another 10 years. Based on the auction of the circus train, the circus owns/owned 127 cars.
So while the circus might have been solvent, if a large number of the train cars were coming up on a rebuild it might have been the straw that broke the camel's back.
Here is a reddit thread discussing it a bit: https://www.reddit.com/r/trains/comments/5o3ih1/i_wonder_wha...
These downsides to EBITDA are well known and should weigh on the mind of anyone who looks at the metric.
For a company that rents all its equipment, EBITDA is a pretty good metric.
Right, ignoring depreciation and debt service is only horrible for assessing companies with significant depreciation or debt service.
> For a company that rents all its equipment, EBITDA is a pretty good metric.
Sure, if you don't have significant depreciation/amortization and debt service, EBITDA is just an approximationation of EBT, which is a perfectly good measure.
And EBT's a perfectly good measure even for companies with debt service and depreciating equipment.
If you haven't seen any of the undercover videos and have doubts, a quick google search will find hundreds. For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECspj0daAlE
That's not true. There's plenty of people who think animal cruelty and abuse is just fine. There's no shortage of people who abuse animals, for instance, so obviously they don't think it's wrong. They may not be a majority of the population, but they exist.
That said, I enjoyed the show and the fact that it is accessible to people at most income levels. Audience members were permitted to go on the performance floor 30 minutes before the show. We could interact with the performers, who were doing a few mini-shows, and get a much closer look. That sort of access costs over $100 at Cirque du Soleil.
Besides ticket price and production quality, another factor working against Ringling Bros. is the fact that everyone lives on the train. Entire families travel to every city. They have a school on the train. When everyone came out at the end of the show, there were at least 200 people of varying ages—babies to adults. That can't be cheap. I'm not sure if Cirque du Soleil does the same for their performers.
Elephants are in the public imagination largely due to the circus and the zoo. We like elephants because we can actually go and see them, which makes us want to keep them around. No one really does anything [donate, protest] about certain endangered species, like the Saola because they aren't in the public eye. Elephants, rhinoceros and Tigers have very extensive programs to protect them, even large national parks, because there is large public support for their conservation. The panda likewise would simply be a curiosity and evolutionary dead end if it wasn't for human intervention.
Once the public doesn't even know what an elephant looks like, the public support will diminish. Certainly there has been many abuses in the circus [like in many other things human beings do], but I just hope that people don't forget about the elephants. I would say that one of the reasons that they haven't been hunted to extinction was due to the fact that many children remember with fondness these wonderful animals, and that contact they had with them was from the circus.
We all went when we were very young, so it's a whirlwind experience for kids.
Then as we got older -- like 8 or older -- it was better to go to the Zoo to see the animals.
I've never liked the circus.
1) I know it's very individual, but when it comes to the arts (as opposed to work), I've always liked soulful performance over replicability. I'd rather take Bob Dylans or Tom Waits terrible singing (while excellent songwriting), over kick-ass scales and guitar riffs of Dreamtheater (the circus in this scenario).
While I can appreciate the skill behind Yngwe Malmsteens playing (or more current examples), or doing flips 20 feet in the air between hanging in rings, it's not something I enjoy watching/hearing.
2) Clowns are creepy, and I don't like slapstick.
3) The concept of the circus is 250 years old (in its modern form), and just in the last 10 years you can see more impressive feats on youtube (or some street corners), where everyone can get a venue.
4) Animal cruelty.
TLDR; It's antiquated and serves no purpose anymore (IMHO).
Now, without one of the biggest draws, people aren't going.
On one hand, I'm happy to hear that they'll no longer be mistreating animals but on the other hand, let's not pretend that those of us who wear fur or leather or eat meat are somehow less responsible for animal cruelty.
Finally, there's different degrees of cruelty. In theory, at least, it should be perfectly possible to raise and slaughter cows humanely. You feed it and give it pasture to graze on, and then one day when it's mature you suddenly chop its head off. Is having regular food, vet care, space to roam free from predators really a bad life? Of course, in reality many of the handlers can be abusive, and that should be policed, but this isn't really comparable to the poor elephants who were abused every day to "train" them, and forced to perform.
It's all interconnected. The price of meat is influenced by the fact that money can be made selling the hides to leather makers and the bones for other purposes, including recovering collagen.
I'm not sure if animals would agree that an easy life free from random predation is much better than a harder life that comes with freedom. One could argue that the Eloi have a similar arrangement with the Morlocks.
I'm not arguing against meat eating or leather wearing, I do both. I'm just pointing out that there are more widespread examples of animals enduring cruel treatment than the circus.
I did. Usually, when people talk about "leather", they're talking about cow leather, not goat leather, sheepskin, alligator skin, etc. Usually, those other things, which are far more rare and expensive, are explicitly named. No one with an alligator-skin handbag calls it a "leather handbag". If cow meat magically became worthless because no one wanted to eat it any more (or even use it for pet food), no one would be killing cows for their skin IMO. The price would be too high, and you could get the skins from other animals instead. Goat leather is much nicer than cow leather, for instance. Why pay a ton for cow leather when you can have something better instead for that price? We only use it so much because it's cheap, and because synthetic alternatives aren't quite as good yet (though that's changing).
>I'm not sure if animals would agree that an easy life free from random predation is much better than a harder life that comes with freedom.
That's not the alternative. Cows are not wild animals. They're domesticated; they only exist because we bred them to be the way they are. They couldn't even survive in the wild. This isn't like alligators being hunted in the wild swamps of FL for their skins. So the alternative is 1. an easy life free from random predation or 2. not existing at all. The same alternative exists for any livestock animal: it's either be born into a life being used by humans somehow, or not be born at all. Which is better? I really don't know. I'm not sure anyone can know that really, since we've never had to live that life, and can't really know the thoughts and desires of these animals. Do chickens living at a crowded Tyson facility, confined to a tiny cage and being shat on by chickens in little cages stacked on top of them, hate their lives so much that they wish they'd never been born? Maybe. Do chickens raised in a family's backyard with lots of space to roam and a henhouse they can enter or leave at will, but who one day get grabbed and flipped upside-down and their head chopped off, prefer they'd never been born? Somehow I doubt it, until that last fateful day (which they probably didn't know was coming; they're probably not smart enough to wonder "hey, why aren't there any elderly chickens here?").
I am not trying to crucify you by any means! I have eaten more than my share of chickens, and have been horrified by the suffering of elephants as well.
I am instead participating in this discussion because I think that the way this argument is structured betrays the weakness of our way of conceiving of allowable/forbidden indifference to another creature with which we can also share emotional experiences. Of course we must eat, and there is vast culture around eating animals or using them as tools or entertainers.
Still, it doesn't mean we need to justify it with swiss-cheese moralizing about intelligence.
I used to catch the bus across the street from a chicken-processing plant. They live in cages that are just large enough for the chicken itself, and the cages are stacked quite high, so that except for the top level, all of them are constantly getting waste dumped on them by the chickens further up in the stack.
Seems pretty torturous to me.
Also Glob Trotters, Disney on Ice and Marvel Live have taken over and owned by the same company.