UniverSoul Lands Number Two Spot on PETA’s List of the Eight Worst Circuses in the U.S.

History of Beatings and Keeping Animals Locked Up 24/7 Earns Dishonor for Cruel Circus

For Immediate Release:
May 12, 2015

David Perle 202-483-7382

Atlanta – Step right up, ladies and gentlemen: If you want cruelty to animals and public endangerment, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—can tell you where to find it in the form of its first-ever list of the Top Eight Worst Circuses in the U.S. Atlanta-based UniverSoul Circus—whose elephant handler currently faces cruelty charges in Fulton County after he was allegedly caught inserting a bullhook (a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end) into an elephant’s mouth—ranks number two on the list.

“Bullhook abuse, constant confinement, and dangerous animal escapes are all on UniverSoul’s exhibitors’ lengthy rap sheet,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA’s message to families is that if you care about animals or your children’s safety, you should never buy a ticket to UniverSoul or any other circus that uses animals.”

UniverSoul does not possess an exhibitor’s license, so it leases animals from outside exhibitors—almost all of whom have lengthy records of violating the federal Animal Welfare Act. In addition to the elephant exhibitor who was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals in Atlanta, UniverSoul works with big-cat exhibitor Mitchel Kalmanson, who admitted to keeping cats caged for 24 hours a day, seven days a week while on the road with UniverSoul. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also fined Kalmanson for two tiger escapes that occurred at UniverSoul.

The circuses rounding out PETA’s list include: Ringling Bros., Carson & Barnes Circus, Cole Bros. Circus, Kelly Miller Circus, George Carden Circus International, the Shrine circuses, and Jordan World Circus.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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