Breaking: Hawthorn Corporation Folds After Dozens of Tiger Deaths

Notorious Animal Exhibitor's License Is Canceled Following Decades of PETA Protests, Lost Sponsors, and More

For Immediate Release:
November 30, 2017

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Grayslake, Ill. – Notorious animal exhibitor Hawthorn Corporation—which made a business out of leasing elephants and tigers to circuses, such as Carden Circus International, Shrine circuses, and Royal Hanneford Circus—is heading for the history books, as its license has been canceled following years of PETA protests, $272,500 in penalties from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the deaths of dozens of tigers on its watch. According to USDA reports from April, two tigers used by Hawthorn died on the road in just over one month: Prince was euthanized after he became hypothermic and dehydrated and had trouble breathing, and Munia died when trainers claimed that they weren’t able to contact a veterinarian—and Hawthorn refused to allow a necropsy.

“Few businesses have inflicted more pain and suffering on animals than the despicable Hawthorn Corporation,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “The demise of this animal-exploiting machine is a warning to every animal circus still eking out an existence that it can either adapt to the times or shut down in shame.”

PETA (whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”) notes that the USDA confiscated an elephant named Delhi from Hawthorn after the company forced her to stand in undiluted formaldehyde and failed to treat her resulting chemical burns and swelling—and the agency later required Hawthorn to surrender all the elephants in its custody. In April, the company made headlines when a truck transporting tigers from the Hejaz Shrine circus in South Carolina to Illinois got a flat tire and the driver left it in a strip-mall parking lot before reportedly checking himself into a motel. The tigers remained unattended inside the small cages for hours and ran out of water.

In recent years, Ringling Bros. and Kelly Miller circuses shut down, Cole Bros. Circus stopped touring, and Ramos Bros. Circus dropped its wild-animal acts. More than 620 malls and 70 jurisdictions nationwide now restrict circuses that use animals.

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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