Groupon: Pull UniverSoul Circus Promo Over Elephant Incident, Says PETA

Elephant Handler Charged With Cruelty to Animals, Even as Online Company Peddles Circus Discounts

For Immediate Release:
March 11, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Chicago – A UniverSoul Circus representative and the circus’s elephant handler are currently facing criminal charges for inserting a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end—into an elephant’s sensitive mouth. In the wake of these abuse charges, just the latest in a long list of animal-welfare issues associated with UniverSoul, PETA is calling on Groupon to halt its promotion of the cruel circus.

“Ringling Bros.’ announcement that it’s ending elephant acts makes it clear that the public is turning away from companies that profit from exploiting animals,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA believes Groupon should pay attention to public sentiment and refuse to tout cruel animal circuses.”

As PETA notes in a letter sent to Groupon today, while on the road with UniverSoul, the circus’s big-cat exhibitor, Mitchel Kalmanson, was recently cited twice—within just four months—for denying animals even the meager minimum amount of space required under federal law. A handler admitted that the big cats were kept in tiny cages for 24 hours a day, seven days a week and were unable to move freely and barely able to stretch vertically (a natural and important movement for a tiger) for the entire four to seven weeks that they were on the road—and sometimes longer.

PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” asks all caring people to avoid UniverSoul Circus and all other circuses that subject animals to the abuse and isolation of performing.

PETA’s letter to Groupon can be seen here. For more information, please visit

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