She’s determined, she’s passionate, and she’s one of UniverSoul Circus’ biggest critics. As long as the circus continues to abuse and exploit animals for cheap human entertainment, activist Nikki Ford will be stalking UniverSoul like a tiger in the grass—just look for yourself:
(For the record, she’s been a zebra, too.) Nikki’s eye-catching protests outside UniverSoul shows get people talking and, more importantly, thinking about the plight of animals suffering under the big top. Her work has brought increased attention to the long list of problems with the animal exhibitors that UniverSoul Circus uses, and seeing her outside a venue hosting UniverSoul has contributed to families’ decisions to turn back and opt instead for one of the countless fun summer activities that don’t involve beating or caging animals.
Hailing from Atlanta, Nikki and her boyfriend, Grey (who became a viral sensation last year with his epic vegan Thanksgiving rap), are both vegan. Nikki is both a talented chef—creating tantalizing plant-based creations—and a professional bodybuilder.
UniverSoul uses elephants—provided by notorious exhibitor Larry Carden—who are routinely lame, likely as a result of chaining and confinement. In 2015, Carden was charged with abusive behavior toward an elephant during a UniverSoul performance at Turner Field. For years, the circus also used a tiger act leased from Mitch Kalmanson, an exhibitor who has been cited by the federal government for failing to provide animals with basic veterinary care, depriving them of the opportunity to exercise, and confining them to foul-smelling, maggot-infested trucks.
UniverSoul is known for having some of the best human talent around, and it’s high time that it followed the lead of other big-name circuses by recognizing the change in consumer attitude and eliminating animal acts now.
We can all do our part to speak up for the animals used by UniverSoul.