Fair Under Fire for Abusive Circus’s Return

PETA Calls for Cancellation of Tiger-Whipping and Elephant-Jabbing Circus's Appearance

For Immediate Release:
January 20, 2017

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Pensacola, Fla. – Just three months after video surfaced of a Circus Pages trainer violently whipping and beating a tiger at the Pensacola Interstate Fair, the venue is planning to host the cruel outfit yet again this weekend—prompting PETA to fire off a letter calling on the fair’s general manager to cancel the performance.

In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—also shares new video footage, recorded on January 14, showing that a Circus Pages trainer hit big cats on their sensitive heads and bodies and jabbed an elephant with a bullhook (a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end).

“It’s absolutely baffling that the Pensacola Interstate Fair would welcome back the same circus that whipped a tiger in full view of horrified schoolchildren,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “As the world saw three months ago, animals who have been beaten and jabbed are known to lash out, and PETA is urging families to stay far away from Circus Pages and any other circus that forces wild animals to perform.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Pensacola Interstate Fair General Manager Don E. Frenkel follows.

January 19, 2017

Don E. Frenkel

General Manager

Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds

Dear Mr. Frenkel,

As you may recall, PETA contacted you in October after learning that a tiger named Gandhi was violently whipped and beaten by Circus Pages trainers after he latched onto a trainer’s leg and dragged her, as numerous schoolchildren looked on in horror. This video shocked people around the world as they saw it in the media and prompted calls for an end to such backward and cruel spectacles. PETA was baffled to learn today that your venue is hosting Circus Pages again this weekend, just three months after such a dangerous, cruel, and publicly decried episode.

Abuse is the rule, not the exception, at circuses that use animals, and PETA just obtained video footage further showing that this is true at Circus Pages. The video, recorded on January 14, shows a circus trainer viciously jabbing an elephant with a bullhook and hitting big cats on their sensitive head and body. In light of this evidence of blatantly abusive training and the tiger attack that occurred in October, I urge you to cancel Circus Pages’ performances at the Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds scheduled for this weekend.

As you’ve seen firsthand, using pain and punishment to train wild animals can provoke them to lash out in fear and frustration, endangering trainers and members of the public alike as well as resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. These animals don’t jump through hoops or stand on two legs because they want to—they do so because they’re afraid not to. Big cats are whipped when they don’t “behave,” and elephants are forced to perform difficult tricks under the constant threat of a weapon called a bullhook (a sharp metal device resembling a fireplace poker). All these forms of abuse appear in the footage taken at last weekend’s Circus Pages performance.

I urge you to take action and refuse to support Circus Pages’ cruelty to animals by canceling this weekend’s performances and never hosting wild-animal acts again. May I please hear from you right away? Thank you for your attention to this serious issue.

Very truly yours,

Rachel Mathews, Esq.

Associate Director | Captive Animal Law Enforcement

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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