Video: Local Circus Performers Caught Whipping Terrified Animals

PETA Releases Audience Member's Footage of Vicenta Pages and David Donnert Threatening Horse, Lions, and Tigers With Whips and Prods

For Immediate Release:
March 9, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Myakka City, Fla. – The footage shows Pages hitting lions and tigers with a prod as the animals flinch in fear, growing more frantic and confused as they search for a way out of the ring. During another act, Donnert tried to force a visibly distressed horse to lie down by hauling on the reins and striking him on the legs. He dragged the trembling horse down to his knees four times before finally giving up on the trick, and at one point, the horse almost fell over. In the video, an audience member can be heard yelling, “Stop!” and “[T]hat’s enough!” Donnert also whipped a camel in the face.

“Violence took center stage at the circus when Vicenta Pages threatened terrified lions and tigers and David Donnert dragged a trembling horse to his knees for a failed comedy act,” says PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Debbie Metzler. “This blatant abuse is why PETA urges kind people to stay away from any circus that uses animals.”

In 2016, Donnert was filmed beating a tiger named Gandhi over two dozen times with a whip in front of children at a Pensacola fair. He and Pages have been performing with various circuses since the Florida-based Circus Pages shut down in 2018.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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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