UniverSoul Circus Exhibitors Bring History of Abusing Animals to St. Louis

Show Should Be Off Limits for Animal-Loving Kids, Says Group

For Immediate Release:
July 23, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

St. Louis — The circus is in town, but the news is grim. That’s because the UniverSoul Circus, which has its opening performance in St. Louis today, contracts with exhibitors of tigers, elephants, and other animals who have atrocious animal-care records. The tiger act is currently being provided by Mitchel Kalmanson, who has a history of failing to adhere to federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations that are meant to protect animals and the public, including being cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for cramming tigers into cages where they couldn’t even stand upright and calling in a veterinarian with no experience with big cats whatsoever to assess a tiger who was limping. The same tiger had a chain dangling from her neck, something that the USDA inspector noted could “present a serious risk of … injury or strangulation.”

“UniverSoul Circus contracts with some of the most abusive scofflaws in the country,” says PETA Foundation Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders. “Kids naturally love animals, so the last place that parents should take them is to UniverSoul or any other circus that uses animals.”

In 2011, PETA filed a complaint and included video footage of a tiger Kalmanson was exhibiting with UniverSoul who was in visible distress after her foot had been trapped under a sliding cage door. That incident resulted in USDA citations for violations of the AWA. Kalmanson has also been repeatedly cited for additional AWA violations, including for failure to supply adequate veterinary care; failure to meet minimum space requirements for tigers, lions, and chimpanzees; improper food storage; failure to have an exercise plan; and more. In 2008, Kalmanson paid a $6,000 penalty for two tiger escapes while he was supplying the tiger act for UniverSoul.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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