USC–Aiken Bans Animal Circuses After PETA Appeal

University Pledges to Make Loomis Bros. Circus the Last Animal Act to Appear at Its Convocation Center

For Immediate Release:
June 19, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Aiken, S.C. – A box of delicious elephant-shaped vegan chocolates is on its way from PETA to the chancellor of the University of South Carolina (USC)–Aiken, which has committed to never again hosting a circus that uses animals at the Convocation Center after the notorious Loomis Bros. Circus performed there last weekend.

“By banning animal circuses, USC–Aiken is recognizing that there’s nothing entertaining about beating and intimidating elephants, big cats, or other animals into performing tricks,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews. “PETA is calling on audiences everywhere to skip circuses that use animals and choose wonderful animal-free ones, such as Cirque Italia, Circus Vargas, and Kelly Miller Circus.”

As PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—pointed out to the school, Brian Franzen, the current elephant and big-cat exhibitor for Loomis Bros., has been cited for numerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Franzen was recently caught on video striking an elephant in the jaw with a bullhook—a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end—and a recent expert report notes that the animals exhibited by him were taught and are managed using “painful handling techniques.”

USC–Aiken now joins more than 620 venues and dozens of communities nationwide that prohibit or restrict animal acts.

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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