Will PETA Save the Shore’s ‘Circus Drive-In’?

New Circus-Torture Museum and Vegan Restaurant Would Dish Up Empathy for Wild Animals Forced to Perform Tricks

For Immediate Release:
January 9, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

The Jersey Shore’s Circus Drive-In Restaurant is for sale, so PETA sent a letter today inquiring about leasing the site at a reduced rate and converting it into a museum showcasing the capture of wild animals such as tigers and elephants as well as the whips, chains, tiny cages, flaming hoops, and other implements used to dominate them and force them to perform in circuses. The group would use part of the property as a vegan restaurant and snack shop, which would sell products such as animal crackers that don’t feature caged tigers or other captive animals. The museum would also display a life-size model of the dark, cramped boxcars used to transport frightened animals across the country, among other tools of the trade.

“PETA’s vision to showcase the practice of capturing wild animals and training them by intimidation and sheer force would be a modern addition to the Jersey Shore—one that promotes compassion for tigers, elephants, and other animals,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Children would see that the chains and cages in circuses deprive animals of everything that’s natural and important them, from the ability to play and socialize to the simple act of stretching their limbs.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Gerard Norkus, senior vice president of Harold Wien Real Estate, LLC, follows.

January 9, 2017

Gerard Norkus

Senior Vice President

Harold Wien Real Estate, LLC

Dear Mr. Norkus,

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 5 million members and supporters, including hundreds across New Jersey, with a proposal for the site of The Circus Drive-In. We’re interested in the possibility of converting the building into a vegan restaurant and empathy museum focusing on animals who suffer when exploited for entertainment in circuses.

Since their inception, circuses have abused and exploited sensitive, intelligent animals out of sheer greed. An exhibit about the extremely cruel training practices used throughout circus history would include videos of elephants and tigers being beaten and electrocuted in order to coerce them into performing confusing and unnatural tricks. The museum would display a bullhook—the sharp hooked weapon used by circus trainers to beat elephants into submission—and a disconnected electric prod used to shock animals, which visitors could view and touch in order to gain a better understanding of the pain that the animals experience.

Since circuses deprive living beings of opportunities to fulfill their basic needs to exercise, roam, socialize, forage, and play, the museum would feature eyewitness videos of animals in tiny cages or in chains, displaying behavior such as swaying back and forth, head-bobbing, and pacing, which are commonly observed signs of mental distress brought on by confinement, neglect, and isolation. A real circus boxcar, used to transport animals for 50 weeks a year, would also be on display, complete with scale models of animals inside to show that the cars are too small for them to turn around in—and including some model feces to represent what they’re forced to stand in.

Would we be able to lease this property over the long term at a very modest amount so that it could be established as a local museum and vegan restaurant that would inspire residents and tourists to practice compassion? Thank you for considering our offer. I look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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