PETA Becomes Part Owner of Groupon in Bid to Stop Abusive Circus Promotions

Online Discounter Not Joining Other Companies That Have Broken Ties With Abusive Animal Businesses

For Immediate Release:
April 21, 2014

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382


Although Groupon has stated publicly that the circuses it promotes “must have clean USDA and public record inspection reports from at least the past 2 years,” U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports show that most of the animal circuses Groupon promotes use exhibitors who have been cited numerous times for violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Violations include endangering the public and animals, failing to provide adequate veterinary care, and dangerous animal handling. That’s why last week, PETA bought sufficient Groupon shares to be allowed to address the company’s annual meeting and to submit a shareholder resolution seeking policy changes. PETA is setting out to educate other stockholders about the disreputable and law-breaking companies that Groupon promotes.

“If it wants to be thought of as an ethical company, Groupon should not be touting circuses and other animal exhibitors with long histories of forcing injured and ill animals to perform,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “Caring consumers want Groupon to respect animals, not cook deals with their exploiters.”

The long list of disreputable outfits promoted by Groupon includes Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Carson & Barnes Circus, SeaWorld, Piccadilly Circus, UniverSoul Circus, Circus Gatti, Shrine circuses, Suncoast Primate Sanctuary, and G.W. Exotic. G.W. Exotic is currently under federal investigation for the deaths of 23 tigers at its roadside zoo in Oklahoma, and Ringling handlers were caught on video beating and jabbing elephants with bullhooks—weapons with a sharp metal hook on one end.

Many companies—including MasterCard, Visa, Ford Motor Co., Sears, Lucky Brand, and General Mills and online deal companies such as Gilt Groupe, Travelzoo,, and Certifikid—have ended promotions of circuses. Simon Property Group, the largest mall property owner in the country, banned wild animal exhibits at all its properties after learning about these issues from PETA.

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