Birthday Surprise for Shriners’ Head Outside His Home … PETA!

End to Cruel Circus Acts Would Give Animals Reason to Celebrate

For Immediate Release:
January 19, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Charleston, S.C. – On Sunday, Shriner Imperial Potentate Kenneth Craven—who’s serving a term as the president and CEO of Shriners International—turns a year older, so to mark the occasion, PETA supporters will greet him outside his house with signs that read, “Animals in Circuses Never Have Happy Birthdays.” The hip-hip-hassle is an escalation of efforts to get Shriners to cut the cruelty from all chapters’ circuses, following Moolah Shrine’s recent announcement that it will drop elephant acts.

When:    Sunday, January 22, 12 noon

“Craven’s a year older, and if he’s any wiser, he’ll make every Shrine circus go animal-free,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA wants Shriners International’s head to turn this into a festive day for all by banning the use of elephants, tigers, and other animals in performances.”

Shrine circuses are among the very last remaining shows that still use wild animals, who are confined to small crates, kept in shackles, and deprived of any semblance of a natural or happy life. They routinely partner with notoriously cruel exhibitors, including Carson & Barnes Circus, which has been cited for more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and whose head trainer was caught on video violently attacking elephants with bullhooks—weapons resembling a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end.

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

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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