Animal Allies to Descend on Yaarab Shrine Circus in Three-Part Push to End Abuse

For Immediate Release:
May 16, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Marietta, Ga. – On Saturday, PETA “elephants,” chained together and armed with signs proclaiming, “Yaarab Shriners Support Animal Abuse,” will converge outside the big top as part of a campaign blitz challenging the Shrine to leave abusive animal acts out of its circus. In another part of its push, PETA fired off a letter this morning to Yaarab Shrine Potentate Robert Hampton calling on him to modernize the club’s circus by going animal-free, just as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is doing.

When:    Saturday, May 20, 10 a.m.

Where:    Jim R. Miller Park, 1339 Al Bishop Dr., Marietta

PETA is also hitting local airwaves with a TV spot that shows tigers in cramped metal cages and elephants being jabbed with bullhooks—weapons resembling a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end—at Shrine circuses. The ad will run more than two dozen times on WXIA-TV Atlanta.

“Circuses should be fun for everyone, but they’re miserable for the elephants and other animals who are forced to perform demeaning tricks under constant threat of physical punishment,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on the Yaarab Shrine to follow in Ringling’s footsteps by ending its archaic live-animal acts and is urging everyone to stay away from Shrine shows until they show respect for animals.”

Video footage shows the head trainer for Carson & Barnes Circus—which frequently provides the cruel elephant acts for the Yaarab Shrine Circus—instructing trainers to sink bullhooks into elephants’ flesh and twist them until the animals scream. Carson & Barnes’ appallingly long history of animal abuse also includes more than 100 citations for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.

For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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