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Freemasonry Watch

PETA calls for halt to Indiana Shrine Circus

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Peta Media Center


For Immediate Release:
November 21, 2005

Lisa Wathne 757-622-7382

Evansville, Ind. —This morning, PETA sent an urgent letter to Sandie Aaron, the regional general manager of SMG, which is the management company that runs Roberts Stadium, warning her that the upcoming Shrine Circus at Roberts Stadium is both dangerous and cruel and urging her not to host circuses such as the Shrine Circus in the future. PETA points out that since 1997, there have been numerous dangerous incidents involving animals used in Shrine Circuses—including one at last year’s Hadi Shrine Circus appearance at Roberts Stadium.

On November 26, 2004, an ambulance was called to Roberts Stadium during the Hadi Shrine Circus performance after a circusgoer was bitten on the cheek by a chimpanzee while posing for pictures. The patron was treated at the hospital for a puncture wound, and although the injury was treatable, chimpanzee attacks can be much more severe.

It should come as no surprise that captive exotic animals sometimes snap and attack trainers and members of the public. Animals forced to perform in circuses are trained through pain and fear. PETA has obtained shocking video footage of a circus trainer violently attacking elephants with steel-tipped bullhooks as the animals scream and recoil in pain. The head trainer instructs the other handlers to make sure that such beatings are always severe and never carried out in public view.

Contrary to popular belief, proceeds from Shrine Circuses usually go to the temples’ administrative costs, not the Shriners children’s hospitals. The Shrine produces circuses by either hiring an existing circus or putting together a collection of animal exhibitors, acrobats, and other acts that perform under the Shrine Circus name.

"Wherever there’s a circus with animals, you’ll find bullhooks, whips, electric prods, and other implements of torture," says PETA Captive Exotic Animal Specialist Lisa Wathne. "It’s usually just a matter of time before these frustrated and deprived animals lash out. The Shrine needs to get out of the circus business."

For more information, please visit PETA’s Web site Circuses.com.

PETA’s letter to SMG Regional General Manager Sandie Aaron is available upon request.

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