Ringling Brothers circus to close after nearly 150 years

The move will put 400 cast and crew members out of a job

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After 146 years, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus has announced it will close up the big top.

Feld Entertainment, the producers of the iconic circus company for nearly 50 years, citing declining ticket sales and high operating costs.

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The move putting a reported 400 cast and crew members out of work.

Taking a dig at the Ringling Bros. slogan of 'The greatest show on earth,' the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) welcomed the news on Twitter.

The wrote: "After 36 years of PETA protests, which showed the world the plight of animal captivity, PETA heralds the end of the saddest show on earth."

The animal rights group, along with other activists, often opposed the treatment of Ringling Bros. animals - such as the use of elephants to perform tricks, leading to years of litigation.

One suit forcing Ringling Bros. to agree to a six-figure fine several years before shutting down its popular elephant act last May.

The circus is set to end its run with performances in Providence, Rhode Island and Uniondale, New York in May.

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