Tom Wopat Gets Blasted for Leading Circus Parade

Former Dukes of Hazzard Star to Receive an Earful From PETA Supporters for Celebrating Cruel Ringling Bros., Circus World

For Immediate Release:
June 18, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Baraboo, Wis.

Lodi native Tom Wopat won’t be able to outrun his pursuers in a souped-up car this time. That’s because the former star of the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard is the latest target of a PETA action alert rallying thousands of activists to contact Wopat and let him know that agreeing to lead Baraboo’s Big Top Parade, which promotes Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and features Circus World, has made him hugely unpopular with anyone who wants elephants out of circus chains and old-fashioned circus acts. Circus World continues to host animal exhibitors who beat elephants, and Ringling paid the largest fine in circus history for animal-welfare violations. PETA is calling on Wopat to bow out of the July 26 parade, which commemorates the 130th anniversary of Ringling Bros.

“Wopat is out of touch for supporting circuses that force animals to perform through violent beatings,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “There’s not a hot rod on the planet fast enough for Wopat to escape the fact that he’s promoting the cruelest show on Earth.”

Circus World hosts elephant exhibitors that have documented records of animal abuse—such as Carson & Barnes Circus, which has amassed more than 100 Animal Welfare Act violations yet is currently exhibiting elephants at Circus World. An undercover video shows Carson & Barnes head trainer Tim Frisco viciously attacking elephants with a bullhook and electro-shocking them.

In the Ringling Bros. circus, elephants are beaten, hit, poked, prodded, and jabbed with bullhooks—weapons with a sharp metal hook on one end—sometimes until bloody. Tigers are viciously struck with sticks so that they’ll perform difficult and often frightening tricks. Also, PETA has acquired compelling photos taken inside Ringling’s training compound that expose how baby elephants are stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with bullhooks, and shocked with electric prods.

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