PETA Member Crashes Shriners’ Black-Tie Gala to Slam Abuse by Circus

For Immediate Release:
April 1, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Evansville, Ind. – Hadi Shriners’ gala attendees encountered a surprise guest at their black-tie event this evening. A PETA supporter crashed the party at Bally’s Evansville Casino & Hotel over cruelty concerns, waving a sign proclaiming, “Hadi Shriners Support Animal Abuse.” The animal ally chanted and urged the Shriners to stop forcing tormented animals to perform in Shrine circuses, before being manhandled by security. Photos and video are available here.

The Hadi Shrine Circus is among the last remaining shows still exploiting wild animals who are confined to small crates, kept in shackles, and deprived of any semblance of a natural life. In 2022, the circus used elephants from Carson & Barnes—whose head trainer was caught on video viciously attacking an elephant with a bullhook until she screamed in pain—as well as camels, dogs, and ponies.

“Animals used for the Hadi Shrine Circus are forced to perform confusing, painful tricks under the threat of violence, over and over again,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Hadi Shriners to end their support of these horrifying animal acts, as other shrines have already done.”

Two top sponsors of the Hadi Shrine Circus—global health and nutrition company DSM and the world’s largest paint and coatings manufacturer, PPG Industries—recently confirmed to PETA that they had cut ties with the circus. The Sherwin-Williams Company also advised its local business groups to refrain from sponsoring the Hadi Shrine Circus in the future.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview.

For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.


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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