B-52s to Shriners: Stop Using Our Songs in Cruel Elephant Act

Band Teams Up With PETA to Urge Bahia Shriners to Go Animal-Free

For Immediate Release:
September 19, 2018

Contact:
Megan Wiltsie 202-540-2175

Orlando, Fla. – After learning from PETA that the Apopka-based Bahia Shrine Circus used the B-52s songs “(Meet) The Flintstones” and “The Bedrock Twitch” during a performance featuring elephants from the notorious Carson & Barnes Circus, the band sent a cease and desist letter today demanding that the Bahia Shriners stop using its songs—and end all animal acts, as other Shrine circuses have done.

“We’ve seen the footage of Carson & Barnes’ ‘animal care director,’ Tim Frisco, cursing at elephants, shocking them with electric prods, and telling his trainers to drive bullhooks—heavy weapons with sharp steel tips—into their bodies and twist them until the animals scream in pain,” writes the B-52s. “The Bahia Shrine should acknowledge that the public doesn’t want animals to be bullied into performing tricks.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—also points to the dangers to the public inherent in using animals in Shrine circuses: Last week at the Pittsburgh Shrine Circus, a camel forced to give rides was spooked and threw off riders, causing injuries to an adult and six children.

The B-52s have been PETA advocates since the 1980s. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

The B-52s’ letter to Bahia Shriners Potentate Ian Ielfield follows.

Ian Andrew Ielfield

Potentate

Bahia Shriners

 

Dear Mr. Ielfield,

We were alarmed when we learned from our friends at PETA that the Bahia Shrine Circus used our songs “(Meet) The Flintstones” and “The Bedrock Twitch” during an act featuring three elephants from Carson & Barnes Circus earlier this year.

We’ve seen the footage of Carson & Barnes’ “animal care” director, Tim Frisco, cursing at elephants, shocking them with electric prods, and telling his trainers to drive bullhooks—heavy weapons with sharp steel tips—into their bodies and twist them until the animals scream in pain. We’re also aware of Carson & Barnes’ multiple violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act for failing to provide animals with minimum space, protection from the weather, and necessities such as clean water and adequate veterinary care.

The Stardust Circus recently dropped its elephant act, and Cole Bros. Circus—where Frisco was a trainer—stopped touring. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed down because it wouldn’t change with the times. The Missoula Shrine Circus dropped wild-animal acts, Shrine circuses in Canada haven’t used wild animals in years, the Orillia Shrine Club abandoned its longtime circus and instead held an Oktoberfest fundraiser, and the Jerusalem Shrine recently announced its decision never again to host an animal circus. The Bahia Shrine should acknowledge that the public doesn’t want animals to be bullied into performing tricks and follow the lead of forward-looking circuses from around the world.

This letter shall serve as our demand that the Bahia Shrine Circus immediately cease and desist from any and all further use of any B-52s music in connection with any circus act or performance. Should you ignore this demand, we reserve the right to pursue all applicable legal remedies available to us.

We and our songs are all about freedom and fun—things that animals in the circus sadly never experience.

Sincerely,

Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider, Cindy Wilson, and Keith Strickland

The B-52s

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“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