Nude ‘Zebra’ to Bray in D.C. Protest on Circus’s Opening Day

PETA Says That Animal-Welfare Citations, Lack of Veterinary Care Are Among Reasons for Families to Stay Away From UniverSoul

For Immediate Release:
June 21, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

WashingtonWhat:    A PETA “zebra”—wearing little more than bodypaint—will be at the National Mall on Thursday, the day of UniverSoul Circus’ opening-night performance, to urge families not to buy tickets to the circus while it’s in town.

When:    Thursday, June 22, 12 noon sharp

Where:    At the intersection of 14th St. N.W. and Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington

“UniverSoul Circus denies zebras, elephants, and other animals everything that’s natural and important to them—just for a few fleeting minutes of human amusement,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “PETA is calling on families to refuse to buy a ticket to any circus that still uses animals.”

PETA (whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”) notes that UniverSoul routinely hires animal exhibitors who have racked up piles of animal-welfare citations. Zebras have escaped and run from the circus through city streets as recently as March 2016 in Philadelphia and November 2015 in Oakland, California. In February, during a routine inspection of the circus while it was in Atlanta, animal control officers discovered numerous animal-welfare issues, including an injured zebra, wounded camels, elephants with bruised feet, and an elephant named Bo with a wound on his ankle.

Ringling Bros. circus—citing the public’s changing attitudes about its use of animals as well as a decade of declining ticket sales—went out of business last month.

On Thursday evening, PETA members will also hold a spirited protest outside the circus’s performance, at FedEx Field in Hyattsville, Maryland, in Parking Lot D between Sheriff and Redskins roads.

For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
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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