End Elephant Abuse and Go Animal-Free, Hadi Shrine Circus Told

For Immediate Release:
November 17, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Evansville, Ind. – The Hadi Shrine Circus has been heavily criticized for hiring exhibitors that keep elephants in shackles, unable to take even a step, and that dominate them and other wild animals with whips and poles—and today, PETA fired off a letter to Potentate Rick Hubbard calling on him to leave animals out of all upcoming shows, just as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is doing.

As part of its push, PETA is hitting local airwaves with a video spot that shows tigers in cramped metal cages and elephants being jabbed with bullhooks—weapons resembling a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end—at Shrine circuses. Animal defenders armed with signs will also descend on the Hadi Shrine Circus before each show in a call for families to steer clear of the circus’s cruel use of animals in its shows.

“Shrine circuses should be fun for everyone, but they’re causing suffering to elephants or the other animals forced to perform confusing and painful tricks,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Times have changed, and the Hadi Shrine Circus should end this shameful chapter in its history by hosting only animal-free fundraisers.”

Shrine circuses are among the last remaining shows that still deprive wild animals of any semblance of a natural life. Circus trainers threaten animals to make them balance on balls, spin on pedestals, walk on two legs, and ride bicycles. Last year, the Hadi Shrine knowingly used suffering tigers in an unlicensed circus act on Thanksgiving, and it has routinely worked with Carson & Barnes Circus, whose head trainer was filmed viciously attacking an elephant with a bullhook until she screamed in pain.

PETA’s TV spot is running on local CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX stations until Sunday, November 27.

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