- Shrine Circus Protest
- 04.04.09 - 04.04.09 05:30 - 07:00
- Mellon Arena - Pittsburgh (Downtown)
- Animals in Entertainment
The Shrine Circus is coming back to Pittsburgh and Voices For Animals is once again organizing leafletings and a demonstration against this show of animal abuse. The main protest will be Saturday, April 4th, from 5:30 PM-7:00 PM at the Mellon Arena. We will be at the main entrance of the arena, directly across from the arena parking lot, by the Centre Avenue side. We will have signs and leaflets available. It is really important that we have a good turnout for this protest in order to show the public that there is widespread opposition towards keeping animals captive in the circus. So please come if you’re able and bring friends!
We need volunteers to leaflet outside for an hour before the other shows. There are 6 shows all together: 2 on Friday, 3 on Saturday, and 1 on Sunday. Here would be the times of those leafletings:
Friday – April 3rd: 10 AM-11 AM and 6 PM – 7 PM
Saturday – April 4th: 9:30 – 10:30 AM and 1:30 – 2:30 PM (the other show is the 5:30-7:00 PM one on Saturday night when we are holding our protest)
Sunday – April 5th: 12 – 1 PM
For driving directions to the Mellon Arena, see http://mellonarena.com/site37.
The Shrine Circus, like all circuses that continue to use animals, is inherently cruel and exploitive to the animals it uses in its shows. Animals used in circuses live miserable lives of exploitation, deprivation, confinement, and violent training. In order to get wild animals to perform unnatural, uncomfortable, and often dangerous tricks, they are beaten into submission using whips, electric prods, and bullhooks. They are trucked around from city to city in boxcars with no heat or air conditioning. When elephants are not performing, they are kept chained up by one front leg and one back leg; big cats and other animals are kept in cages so small they can barely turn around comfortably. Most importantly, the circus takes animals far from their natural homes, traumatically separates them from their families, and deprives them of their basic needs and desires to exercise, roam, socialize, forage, and play. Stereotypic behaviors such as swaying back and forth, head-bobbing, pacing, bar-biting, and self-mutilation are common signs of mental distress in captive animals, and are not behaviors seen in nature.
The Shrine Circus is no different than any other circus that exploits animals used in their performances, except for the fact that Shrine doesn’t “own” the animals, but rather leases them out from outside companies such as Hawthorn Corporation, Circus Hollywood, and the George Carden Circus. This means that Shrine escapes having USDA citations listed in its name. However, some of the worst and most notorious circus incidents occurred under Shrine Circus exhibitors, such as when Tyke the elephant snapped from the continuous abuse he was living under, and went on a rampage, resulting tragically, in him being gunned down. For a list of Shrine Circus incidents and USDA violations, see this link:
And that list keeps continuing. Just 2 weeks ago on March 9th at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, a Shrine Circus elephant being forced to give rides to kids between performances, got scared, bumped into a mobile staircase, and injured 12 children.
Contrary to popular belief, proceeds from Shrine’s ticket sales do not go to Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. In fact, if you look at the small print on the bottom of a Shrine Circus ad, you’ll see “Proceeds are for the benefit of Syria Temple. Payments are not deductible as charitable contributions”. Even if the funds were going to the hospitals however, there are a multitude of other fundraisers the Shriners could choose from without resorting to animal exploitation, including any animal-free circus, such as the Russian American Kids Circus which just appeared in Pittsburgh.
Keeping animals captive in the circus is a cruel and archaic tradition that must be brought to an end. Please help us move towards that goal and come and protest with us next Saturday! Thank you!
For more information about the inherent cruelty of animal circuses visit:
- Mellon Arena - Website
- 66 Mario Lemieux Place
- Pittsburgh (Downtown)
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