Following months of protests, appeals from over 60,000 PETA supporters, and an assault on two nonviolent protesters—which was caught on video—the Moolah Shrine has finally declared that it’s ending its use of elephants. The Moolah Shrine Circus was among the last remaining shows that still exploited wild animals who were confined to small crates, kept in shackles, and deprived of any semblance of a natural life.
Shrine circuses routinely work with notoriously cruel exhibitors who supply the animals for their acts. Video footage of a veteran trainer, who often presented the elephants at the Moolah Shrine Circus, shows him instructing trainers to sink bullhooks into elephants’ flesh and twist them until the animals scream.
The writing has been on the wall for ages: Circus acts that exploit animals need to go. Many other circuses have already moved away from using animals. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced its return to the big top using only willing human participants. The Western Montana Shrine Circus ended wild-animal acts, and Shrine circuses in Canada haven’t used wild animals in years. The Moolah Shrine itself had already stopped using big cats and bears in its acts, and this most recent decision furthers its transition toward modern times. We hope its decision will be a lesson to every other holdout Shrine that it’s time to stop fighting the future and start switching to animal-free circuses that dazzle audiences with human talent.
From Circus to ‘Retirement’ at a Roadside Zoo
However, not all the news is rosy—the elephants live at the deceptively named Endangered Ark Foundation, an infamous Oklahoma facility run by Carson & Barnes Circus, a longtime partner of the Moolah Shrine Circus. Carson & Barnes has racked up over 100 federal Animal Welfare Act citations. The Endangered Ark Foundation chains “retired” elephants, breeds them, and uses them for photo opportunities and other entertainment. Does that sound like retirement to you? PETA will continue to advocate in behalf of the elephants who live at this roadside zoo.
Speak Out Against Shrine Circuses!
Tell Shriners that their circus acts would be safer, more entertaining, and better off without forcing animals to perform confusing, painful tricks under the threat of violence.