American Eagle Outfitters Pulls Circus T-Shirt, Nets Thank-You Gift From PETA

Retailer Joins Long List of Companies That Refuse to Promote Circuses That Use and Abuse Animals

For Immediate Release:
July 13, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Pittsburgh – A box of delicious, elephant-shaped vegan chocolates is on its way to Pittsburgh-based American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) as a thank-you from PETA after the company confirmed that it has pulled T-shirts featuring an elephant performing a circus trick from its shelves. In its decision to pull the shirts, AEO stated that it explicitly opposes the inhumane treatment of animals and does not tolerate cruelty to animals in the design, manufacturing, or testing of its products.

With this move, AEO joins Lucky Brand Jeans, Burger King, Denny’s, MasterCard, Sears, Lakeville Arenas, and many other companies that have cancelled circus promotions or adopted no-circus policies following discussions with PETA.

“Today’s kind shopper would never attend a circus that beats elephants into performing, let alone wear a T-shirt that celebrates one,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “By pulling this shirt off its racks, American Eagle Outfitter joins PETA in sending the message that circuses that use and abuse animals will soon be found only in history books.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—has gathered extensive video and photographic evidence showing circus trainers and handlers as they jab elephants, including babies, with bullhooks (weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end). Circuses keep elephants, tigers, and other animals on the road for up to 50 weeks a year, and when they aren’t being forced to perform—under the threat of punishment—they’re usually shackled in chains or locked away in cramped cages.

Thanks to growing opposition to circuses that beat elephants into performing, Ringling Bros. recently pledged to phase out all of its elephant acts by 2018.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind