Ringling Barnum & Bailey Circus Closes After 146 Years

After more a century and a half, “The Greatest Show on Earth” is closing down.

Feld Entertainment, which owns the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, announced that the show will be ending in May.

The company broke the news to the circus’ nearly 500 employees after shows in Orlando and Miami over the weekend, according to the Associated Press.

“This was a difficult business decision to make, but by ending the circus tours, we will be able to concentrate on the other lines of business within the Feld Entertainment portfolio,” Juliette Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment, said in a statement. “Now that we have made this decision, as a company, and as a family, we will strive to support our circus performers and crew in making the transition to new opportunities.”

Rising operation costs, falling ticket sales, and costly legal battles have made the show increasingly more difficult to produce.

PETA and other animal rights groups led protests against the circus. When state and local laws placed more pressure on the company’s use of exotic animals, it ended its elephant act last May.

PETA was quick to applaud the news on Twitter, calling it “the end of the saddest show on earth.”