PETA Wants Yaarab Shrine Circus’ Animal Acts Canceled

Yaarab Shriners, Jim Miller Park Urged to Nix Cruel and Dangerous Elephant and Bear Performances Following Death, Injuries

For Immediate Release:
May 8, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Marietta, Ga.

Today, PETA sent a letter to the Yaarab Shrine potentate and the facility manager of Jim Miller Park—which is hosting the upcoming shows—urging them to cancel the Yaarab Shrine Circus’ slated animal acts and go forward with willing human performers only.

PETA points out that the shows are currently set to feature bears from Castle’s Bears—which dresses them in costumes, muzzles them, yanks them around on leashes, and forces them to perform vile tricks—and elephants from the notorious Tarzan Zerbini Circus. Elephants used by Tarzan Zerbini have seriously injured children and even killed a trainer, who was trampled to death after a show in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Between shows, the bears are kept in small cages and the elephants are kept chained.

“These days, we’re more enlightened, and everyone knows it’s wrong to cage and chain bears and elephants and force them to perform under the threat of violence,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “PETA asks those involved in putting on this circus to join the 21st century and feature only talented human performers who can go home to their families every night.”

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information, please visit

PETA’s letter to Yaarab Shrine Potentate Gary Lewis and Jim Miller Park Facility Manager Cara Lynn follows.

May 8, 2018

Cara Lynn, Facility Manager, Jim Miller Park

Gary Lewis, Potentate, Yaarab Shrine

Dear Ms. Lynn and Mr. Lewis,

I’m writing again on behalf of PETA with urgent information about the Yaarab Shrine Circus shows featuring the Tarzan Zerbini Circus at Jim Miller Park. I urge you to ensure that the performances go forward without animals.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited Tarzan Zerbini for failing to maintain a veterinary-care program, provide animals with the minimum required space, and prevent elephants from being exposed to tuberculosis. Animals used by this circus have seriously injured children—including three who were hurt during elephant rides at a performance in Michigan—and an elephant trainer was trampled to death by one of the elephants following performances at the Mizpah Shrine Circus in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The bears are provided by Castle’s Bears, a company that dresses them in ridiculous costumes, muzzles them, yanks them around on leashes, and forces them to perform demeaning and possibly painful tricks. In a recent report, an expert noted that the bears were managed through “fear, coercion, and punishment,” weren’t provided with proper care, and suffered from ongoing physical and psychological trauma. The public is rightfully outraged as it becomes aware of the suffering inherent in forcing animals to perform, such as when a video surfaced last year showing one of the bears urinating in apparent distress when being pulled by a leash and forced to walk on the front legs.

Shrine circuses should be fun for everyone, but they’re not fun for the muzzled bear forced to ride a bicycle or the suffering elephant coerced into performing confusing and difficult tricks. Because it appears that you don’t intend to cancel the animal acts, I’m left with no option but to alert our members and supporters that Jim Miller Park and the Yaarab Shrine apparently don’t share their concerns regarding animal welfare and aren’t interested in addressing the cruelty inflicted on wild animals used for entertainment.

Please prioritize animal welfare and public safety by canceling the cruel elephant and bear acts and allowing only animal-free entertainment moving forward.

Very truly yours,

Melanie Johnson

Campaign Coordinator, Animals in Entertainment

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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