Sky-High Elephant Trumpets to Shriners: Let Our People Go!

For Immediate Release:
November 28, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Tampa, Fla.

Just down the road from Shriners International Headquarters, PETA has just erected a new, unmissable appeal from a baby elephant, who begs to be left out of the circus as a trainer jabs her with a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end. The billboard—which features the PETA logo inside a Shriners fez—is part of a new national campaign calling Shriners International out for failing to enact a bylaw banning the use of animals in its clubs’ fundraisers, including circuses, even though Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is no longer using elephants or bullhooks and bans on circuses that use elephants are being enacted across the country.

“The geriatric elephants used by the Shriners have been taken away from their mothers, imprisoned, shackled, trained with violence, and forced to perform against their will since they were infants, and they should be replaced with human acrobats, jugglers, tightrope walkers, and other talented human performers,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on the Shriners to step out of the dark ages and end elephant suffering.”

Shrine circuses—such as the notorious Hadi, Moolah, Sharon, and Yaarab ones—are among the very last remaining shows that still deprive wild animals of any semblance of a natural life. They routinely partner with notoriously cruel exhibitors, including Carson & Barnes Circus, which has been cited for more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and whose head trainer was caught on video attacking elephants with bullhooks.

Nearly 750 venues and dozens of communities—including the entire states of California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, and New York—prohibit or restrict traveling animal acts, and Ringling Bros. has announced its return to the circus tent with only willing human performers.

The billboard is located at 4720 W. Spruce St. (near the intersection with N. Westshore Boulevard), Tampa.

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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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