TV Ad Blasting Captivity as ‘Slavery’ Debuts in Norfolk as UniverSoul Comes to Town

PETA Spot by Actor Robbyne Kaamil to Air During Elephant-Abusing Circus' Stint

For Immediate Release:
June 11, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – As UniverSoul Circus arrives in Norfolk, TV viewers will get a hard-hitting message from actor and author Robbyne Kaamil, who wrote and narrated a new PETA ad that will air 55 times on WAVY-TV (NBC), WVBT-TV (Fox), and Bounce TV during the circus’ stay. “My great-great-grandmother was a slave on a North Carolina plantation,” Kaamil says in the ad. “Slavery was a horrible, ugly, and brutal system. … Unfortunately, slavery is still a reality for some.”

Kaamil, whose likeness appears in the animated ad, goes on to explain how elephants are stolen from their families and sold to circuses and other businesses that chain, beat, and exhibit them for profit.

“When you buy a ticket,” concludes Kaamil, “you are an active participant in this modern-day slave trade. … [L]et us all stand up and fight for the freedom of animals in captivity. Let’s end slavery everywhere, anywhere, in all its forms, for all living beings.”

Elephant handlers with UniverSoul use bullhooks—weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp steel hook on one end—to force elephants to perform confusing and unnatural tricks under fear of punishment. Many cities, including Los Angeles and Richmond, Virginia, have passed bans that prohibit the use of bullhooks because of the pain they inflict on elephants.

Kaamil joins PETA in calling on UniverSoul to follow Ringling Bros.’ lead and agree to end the inhumane use of elephants in its performances.

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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