‘Elephant’ Santa and Elves to Dump Coal on Shriners International in Push for Animal-Free Circuses

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.

For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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