Newly Animal-Free Melha Shrine Circus Nabs Big Thanks From PETA

Shriners Make the Progressive Decision to Thrill Audiences Without Harming Elephants, Tigers, and Other Animals

For Immediate Release:
April 27, 2016

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Springfield, Mass. – When the Melha Shrine Circus opens tonight, not a single elephant, lion, or tiger will be in sight—instead, acrobats, clowns, comedians, motorcyclists, and other talented human performers will entertain the Springfield crowd. As a thank-you for preventing animals from being beaten and whipped into performing, PETA has sent the Melha Shriners a box of delicious vegan cookies

“The Melha Shrine Circus is proving how modern-day circuses can thrill audiences without caging, chaining, and beating animals,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA will continue to call on circuses across the country to follow the Melha Shrine’s progressive example of creativity and compassion.”

As documented by PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—circus trainers and handlers routinely jab elephants, including babies, with bullhooks (weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end). Animal-based circuses keep elephants, tigers, and other animals on the road for up to 50 weeks a year, and when they aren’t being used in performances, they’re usually shackled in chains or locked inside cramped cages. Many animal exhibitors with Shrine circuses, such as the notorious Mitchel Kalmanson, the Carden family, and Carson & Barnes, have lengthy records of violating federal animal-welfare law.

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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