Nude ‘Zebra’ to Bray in Protest on Circus’s Opening Day in Charlotte

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

For Immediate Release:
March 13, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

What:    A PETA “zebra”—wearing little more than bodypaint—will be in downtown Charlotte on Tuesday, the day of UniverSoul Circus’ opening-night performance, and urge families not to buy tickets to the circus while it’s in town.

When:    Tuesday, March 14, 12 noon sharp

Where:    The intersection of N. College and E. Fifth streets, Charlotte

“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. Just last month, 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—announced that it will go out of business in May.


On Tuesday evening, a costumed “tiger” and “elephant” with “tears” running down their faces will also lead PETA members in a spirited protest outside the circus’s performance.

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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