Animal Defenders to Descend on UniverSoul Circus’ Opening Night in Oxon Hill

For Immediate Release:
June 28, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Oxon Hill, Md. – Brandishing signs that read, “Wild Animals Belong in the Wild,” a group of PETA supporters will descend on UniverSoul Circus’ opening-night performance at National Harbor and push for it to modernize with human-only acts, as the new Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is doing.

When:    Friday, June 30, 6:15 p.m.

Where:    268 Waterfront St. (at the intersection with St. George Boulevard), Oxon Hill

Federal records show that a limping tiger was denied veterinary care and big cats were locked in cramped cages 24/7—all while on tour with UniverSoul. Animal control officers have observed wounded camels, an injured zebra, elephants with bruised feet, and an elephant with a wound on his ankle. Zebras forced to perform with UniverSoul have escaped multiple times, running frantically through busy streets. This eyewitness video shows a camel being punched while being used for rides. Workers continued to place children on the distressed animal’s back, putting both them and the camel in danger.

“Cruelty takes center stage at any circus show where wild animals are forced into performing tricks in front of noisy crowds,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on UniverSoul to drop the demeaning animal acts, as numerous other circuses have already done.”

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