History of Deadly Elephant Attacks Trails Marietta Circus Handler

Shrine Circuses Rank Number Seven on PETA's List of the Eight Worst Circuses in the U.S.

For Immediate Release:
May 22, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Marietta, Ga. – A day under the big top is no fun for the animals used by Shrine circuses, one of which is performing through Monday in Marietta. These notoriously cruel and dangerous outfits recently claimed the number seven spot on PETA’s list of the Top Eight Worst Circuses in the U.S. All these circuses have high rates of cruelty to animals and public endangerment.

“Animals do not stand on their hind legs, balance on balls, or ride bicycles without the constant threat of violent punishment—and these frustrated animals have been known to lash out,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA encourages families to protect their children and spare animals a lifetime of suffering by never purchasing a ticket to Shrine circuses or any other circus that still beats animals into performing.”

Shrine circuses don’t have exhibitor’s licenses, so they lease animals from outside exhibitors—almost all of whom have lengthy records of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act. There have been six serious elephant attacks—two of which were deadly—associated with elephant handler Patricia Zerbini and her father, Tarzan. Patricia Zerbini has also been cited for failing to supply adequate veterinary care to an elephant who was exposed to the human strain of tuberculosis—which is highly transmissible between elephants and humans even without direct contact—and for endangering the public by exhibiting him even though he had not been properly treated for the disease.

For more information, please visit PETA’s blog.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 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