Tiger Deaths Prompt PETA Plea: End Cruel Animal Acts at Columbia Shrine Club

PETA Urges Jamil Shriners to Go Animal-Free After Newly Released Reports of Circus Exhibitor Reveal Two Tigers Died in One Month

For Immediate Release:
October 4, 2017

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Columbia, S.C. – After recently released U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports from April 4, April 25, and April 27 revealed that two tigers used by notorious circus exhibitor Hawthorn Corporation died in just over one month, PETA fired off a letter today to the Jamil Shriners—which sponsored Royal Hanneford Circus performances in February that used tigers provided by Hawthorn—urging their organization to pledge not to host circuses that feature animal acts in the future.

According to the reports, a tiger named Prince became hypothermic while on the road, and by the time that he was finally seen by a veterinarian, he was lying down, dehydrated, and having difficulty breathing—and he ultimately had to be euthanized. A second tiger, Munia, died on the road when trainers claimed that they weren’t able to contact a veterinarian, and Hawthorn refused to allow a necropsy (an animal autopsy). The documents also show that Hawthorn was cited for confining tigers to cramped cages and failing to provide an emaciated tiger named King—who wasn’t eating or able to lift his tail to urinate—with veterinary care.

“Dozens of tigers have died on Hawthorn’s watch, and these new documents show that the death toll is rising,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “Public opposition to using animals in circuses has never been stronger, and PETA is calling on Shrine clubs nationwide to heed the compassionate call to go animal-free.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that Hawthorn has accumulated $272,500 in USDA penalties and has had its license suspended twice. The agency confiscated an elephant named Delhi from Hawthorn after the company forced her to stand in undiluted formaldehyde and failed to treat her resulting chemical burns and swelling. The USDA later required Hawthorn to surrender all elephants in its custody. In April, the company made headlines when a truck transporting tigers from the Hejaz Shrine Circus in South Carolina to Illinois got a flat tire and the driver left it in a strip-mall parking lot before reportedly checking himself into a motel. The tigers remained unattended inside the small cages for hours and ran out of water.

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“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