To The Shrine Circus for continuing to subject animals to abuse and harsh environments of circus performing, even in the wake of an animal-involved incident which sent seven people to the hospital.
Animal abuse has been synonymous with circuses for as long as they have been in the animal entertainment business. Forced to travel in cramped cages for several hours a day, these animals never experience the natural habitat they are meant to. During hours of rigorous training, elephants, tigers, and bears are tied with ropes and prodded with bull hooks until they get their poses correct. If they act out—either in frustration or fear—they are whipped until they submit to the trainer’s cruel commands.
On September 16th, the Shrine Circus performed in Pittsburgh, PA, where it featured many acts involving animals, including camel rides. During this particular event, one camel became agitated and began bucking, throwing several children off of its back before dragging along a woman for several feet. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured. After the incident, circus performers immediately picked up where they left off, and finished the show as if nothing happened. They even continued to offer camel rides, in spite of the horrific scene that took place just moments before.
Despite little to no action from The Shriners since the event, the public has taken the matter into their own hands with a petition to stop the Shrine Circus from using animals in their future performances. The petition has already gained over 26,000 signatures, with a goal of 30,000.
Although numerous reports of these harsh practices have been available for decades, lawmakers have yet to act. In fact, many states even exclude circuses from their animal abuse laws. However, people are opening their minds and hearts to these defenseless circus animals and demanding change: once Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey began phasing out the use of wild animals in their acts in 2015, ticket sales plummeted, so they decided to fold up their big top for good in 2017, rather than reformatting their performances to be entertaining and animal-free. The goal is not to end circuses; the goal is to end the exploitation of animals for commercial gain.
Take Action: Click here to sign the petition to stop The Shrine Circus from using animals in their future shows. Contact your local representative and ask them to support legislation that will protect circus animals from abuse. Last but not least, vote with your wallet. Do not attend circuses that use animals. Instead, visit one of the many circuses in the United States that offer wonderful family entertainment without participating in animal abuse.