Massive Blow-Up Fez to Follow Shrine Circus Into Tyler Over Big-Top Cruelty

For Immediate Release:
August 31, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Tyler, Texas – They say everything is “bigger in Texas”—so on Saturday, PETA supporters will inflate a gigantic, 15-foot-high fez that reads, “Shrine Circuses Abuse Animals,” outside the Sharon Shrine Circus in Tyler and push the Shriners to modernize by keeping tormented animals out of their shows, just as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is doing. The larger-than-life spectacle will be part of a five-city campaign in which animal defenders will rally at each of the circus’s stops across East Texas.

When:    Saturday, September 2, 2 p.m.

Where:    In front of The Oil Palace, 10408 State Hwy. 64, Tyler

The Sharon Shrine Circus is among the 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. The Sharon Shriners 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.

“In Shrine circuses, elephants, tigers, and other wild animals are tormented into performing stressful tricks through fear of pain and punishment,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Sharon Shriners to end these horrifying animal acts, as numerous other Shrines have already done.”

Some well-intentioned people may think that attending a Shrine circus benefits children. But ticket sales aren’t charitable donations: The profits are generally used to maintain the club’s premises and fund its activities.

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, listen to The PETA Podcast, 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