BREAKING (Video): Pro-Animal Protesters Crash Yaarab Shrine’s ‘Circus Appreciation Party’

For Immediate Release:
August 5, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382


This afternoon, Yaarab Shrine Potentate Robert Hampton and other members got a surprise during the closing celebration of the shrine’s annual circus season when PETA supporters disrupted the event by shouting, “End animal circus acts now! Stop abusing animals!” and unveiled signs that read, “Elephants Beaten and Chained for Shrine Circuses.” Shriners surrounded the peaceful protesters, grabbed them, and pushed them—even though they were proceeding to leave as asked. Shriner thugs then blocked the protesters’ car, preventing their departure until police arrived and allowed them to leave. Photos and video footage of the disruption are available here.

The Yaarab Shrine Circus is one of the last remaining circus shows that still use wild animals who are confined to small crates, kept in shackles, and deprived of any semblance of a natural life. It has partnered 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 attacking elephants with bullhooks—weapons resembling a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end.

“PETA is determined to see the day when the Shriners agree that elephants are to be respected, not chained, beaten, or forced to perform in circus shows that are cruel and outdated,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “We’re upping the ante in urging Yaarab Shrine to stop promoting big-time cruelty under the big top.”

On Monday, Yaarab Shrine will host a party for members with summer birthdays—including Hampton—and to mark the occasion, PETA supporters in poop costumes will make a stink outside and deliver a cake that reads, “Robert Hampton, Stop Treating Animals Like Crap.” The back-to-back party disruptions are an escalation of efforts to persuade Shriners to cut the cruelty from all chapters’ circuses, following Moolah Shrine’s announcement that it dropped elephant acts.

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.


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