Tell the Shrine Circus: Stop Using Performing Animals
  • Petitioned George A. Mitchell

This petition was delivered to:

President, Shriners of North America
George A. Mitchell

Tell the Shrine Circus: Stop Using Performing Animals

    1. Laura Goldman
    2. Petition by

      Laura Goldman

      Torrance, CA

The new movie Water for Elephants, based on the best-selling book, depicts circus elephants being beaten into submission to perform unnatural tricks like headstands. Although the story takes place during the early 1930s, performing animals are still regularly subjected to abuse nearly a century later.

Just one year ago this month, an elephant performing with the Shrine Circus in Pennsylvania kicked and killed a groomer. While officials said the elephant came into contact with electrical wires and was spooked, elephant experts disagreed, and believed the stomping was intentional.

Animals are trained to do unnatural acts like headstands using negative reinforcement methods with bullhooks (a long pole with a metal hook on the end, used to beat and jab elephants’ sensitive skin), whips, electric prods and other cruel devices. Elephants are not allowed to socialize, and when not performing, are kept chained in a small area with little room to move.

Shrine Circus exhibitors have been cited over the years for dozens of abuses, including failure to provide veterinary care, shelter from the elements, nutritious food or clean water, as well as failure to handle animals in a way preventing them from trauma and harm.

It’s the 21st century and high time for the Shrine Circus to stop supporting animal abuse. Please sign the petition asking the Shrine Circus to stop using performing animals.

Photo credit: rjshiflet


Recent signatures


    1. Reached 5,000 signatures
    2. Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      Check out the PETA PSA with Wimer Valderrama on the cruel treatment of animals in circuses:

    3. Reached 750 signatures
    4. <i>Water for Elephants</i> Cruelty to Circus Animals Isn't Fiction

      Stephanie Feldstein
      Petition Organizer

      In Sara Gruen’s bestselling novel, Water for Elephants, the performing animals in a Depression-era circus are subjected to cruel abuse.
      Eighty years and a new millennium later, there have been few big changes under the big top. In fact, the movie...


    Reasons for signing

    • Sherry Bondy HARROW, CANADA
      • over 2 years ago

      It makes me sick to think that we still support this treatment of animals.. I used to go to them too but not I educated myself... People really need to do their homework when it comes to entertainment dollars

    • Dana Turnbough WASHINGTON, MO
      • over 2 years ago

      Elephants are not wind up dolls. You are not only harming the elephants but also putting the crowd at risk. Eventually those elephants will have had enough. We have seen it time and time again.

    • Lisa Butterfield GARDEN CITY, MI
      • over 2 years ago

      My daughter is 4 and even she sees this is wrong!

    • Elaine Nichenko MERIDIAN, ID
      • over 2 years ago

      I attended the El Kora Shrine Circus in Boise, ID on June 23, 2012. It was heartbreaking to see the elephants & horses in particular, and the tigers. Elephants looked miserable, ponies looked frail & underfed. My husband was rooting for the tigers. We took our 41/2 year old but were sickened and left at the intermission.

    • April King GUELPH, CANADA
      • over 2 years ago

      They do not treat their animals properly


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