Last week, PETA tweeted eyewitness video footage of a bear urinating in apparent distress when pulled by a leash and forced to walk on her front legs during the February 18 performance of the Tangier Shrine Circus outside Omaha, Nebraska. The tweet has received more than 32,000 retweets and close to 10 million views, and the video has been viewed on Twitter more than 3 million times.
The viral tweet has also received close to 800 comments, including, “this is so heartbreaking!!!! Where is the justice!!! Fucked up and backward world. THINGS NEED TO CHANGE!!” and “Idk how those trainers sleep at night knowing they’re beating those animals to th point they’re pissin on themselves.”
Based on the footage, PETA sent a letter in February calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate the act, known as “Castle’s Bears,” for apparent violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. PETA also contacted the Shrine chapters that use circuses as fundraisers and asked them to contract with only willing human performers. After the Midian Shrine in Wichita, Kansas, continued to partner with Castle’s Bears, PETA supporters demonstrated outside the circus with an eye-catching display to show people what their ticket purchase is really funding.
— PETA (@peta) April 22, 2017
It’s no wonder that this video and others like it go viral. Dragging sensitive animals from town to town and yanking them around for a circus show should have ended in the Dark Ages. PETA showed the eyewitness footage to a bear expert, who noted that the loud music and the noisy crowd of a circus performance is inherently distressing to the animals. Castle’s Bears also pulls and yanks on the lead and muzzle to force the animal to comply, which can cause long-term trauma to the bear’s nerves, spine, and muscles. Watch the full video below:
Although PETA has offered to arrange for the transfer of the bears used in the act to a reputable sanctuary, we have yet to hear back. We’ve rescued 60 bears over the past five years and arranged for their transport to reputable sanctuaries, and we stand ready to transport these bears as well to a reputable sanctuary where they’d never be tormented again.
Take a Stand for Animals Used in Shrine Circuses
Shriners International, with chapters around the world, claims to be “dedicated to brotherhood, compassion, and service to others,” so you’d think that it would have no problem urging its chapters to leave animal circuses out of their fundraising plans. But despite hearing that animals in circuses are beaten and deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them, they refuse to take a stand. Now, we need your help to urge the organization to ask its members to drop animal acts from their events. Use the button below to tell the society that you won’t support it until this cruelty ends.