NASDAQ Under Fire for Scheduling UniverSoul Circus to Ring Closing Bell

PETA Urges Market Not to Put Stock in Cruelty to Animals

For Immediate Release:
April 14, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

This afternoon, PETA sent an urgent letter calling on NASDAQ CEO Robert Greifeld to cancel plans for the UniverSoul Circus to ring the market’s closing bell on Friday. In the letter, PETA points out that UniverSoul has a long history of working with notorious animal abusers, including big-cat exhibitor Mitchel Kalmanson, who has been cited for holding tigers in foul-smelling, maggot-infested cages without exercise, among other violations.

“Ringing NASDAQ’s closing bell is a privilege that should not be awarded to a business that imprisons tigers, elephants, and other animals and bullies them into performing dangerous stunts,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on NASDAQ to rescind its invitation to UniverSoul and only reissue it once this circus agrees to feature exclusively willing human performers.”

If NASDAQ does not cancel its plans, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—will protest outside Friday’s closing ceremony.

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PETA’s letter to NASDAQ CEO Robert Greifeld follows.

April 14, 2016

Robert Greifeld
Nasdaq-OMX Stock Market, Inc.


Dear Mr. Greifeld:

On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters, I urge you to cancel plans immediately for the discredited UniverSoul Circus to ring the closing bell. I think you will be horrified to hear that UniverSoul has a long history of working with notorious animal abusers who have lengthy records of federal Animal Welfare Act violations.

The circus currently contracts with big-cat exhibitor Mitchel Kalmanson, who was cited twice within four months for denying exercise and space to big cats while with UniverSoul. The cages were too small for the animals to make even normal postural adjustments, and a handler admitted that the cats were kept caged 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the entire four to seven weeks that they were on the road—and sometimes longer. This video from a November 21 performance shows tigers who were exhibited by Kalmanson and who had been confined to extremely small cages. They showed signs of aggravation and distress as they were paraded around and dangled in front of a crowd while being bombarded with lights and loud noise. It also shows elephant exhibitor Larry Carden aggressively using a bullhook—a sharp weapon used to inflict pain and instill fear in elephants in order to force them to perform tricks—on an elephant named Cindy.

Ringling Bros. circus is ending elephant acts, SeaWorld stopped its orca breeding program, and the pressure is on UniverSoul to change, too, as the public does not want to see animals forcibly paraded around a ring and made to perform uncomfortable, painful, and confusing tricks. Many highly respected people have been given the privilege of opening and closing the market floor. A company that is as universally reviled as UniverSoul Circus, with such a tainted reputation, is not worthy of that privilege.

I encourage you to invite the circus back to the floor once it makes the overdue decision to end all animal acts, because that will truly be the time to celebrate. The world is watching. Please let us know that you will cancel UniverSoul’s appearance. I look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

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