For Immediate Release:
December 20, 2022
David Perle 202-483-7382
Tampa, Fla. – On Thursday, an “elephant” Santa and his elves will descend on the doorstep of Shriners International with wheelbarrows of coal, as part of PETA’s campaign urging Shriners to get off the “naughty” list and make their circuses animal-free—just as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is doing. As part of its holiday push, PETA is also mailing sacks of coal to members of the Shriners International leadership.
When: Thursday, December 22, 12 noon
Where: Shriners International Headquarters, 2900 N. Rocky Point Dr., Tampa
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.
“Cruelty takes center stage at any circus where animals are trained through pain and fear to perform tricks in front of a noisy crowd,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Shriners International to give elephants and other animals the gift of peace and joy this holiday season by adopting a policy banning all animal acts.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.