As an organization, the Shriners do a world of good. They maintain Shriners Hospitals, which care for children suffering from a wide variety of aliments. We thank them for these efforts.
However, many Shriners groups hold circuses to support this work and to support the costs of maintain their organization’s facilities. This year, the Jacksonville-based Morocco Shriners is holding a circus at the Morocco Shrine Center in order to fund the daily operations of their facility. This circus will include three animal acts: a performance involving the “Rosaire Bears”, a performance of camels, and one featuring a horse.
We are calling on the Morocco Shriners to discontinue the use of animals in their circuses. A step they could easily make by substituting animal acts for other types of entertainment in their line up.
The use of animals for the purposes of entertainment denies them of their ability to live free, natural lives. For example, the captors of the Rosaire Bears were fined on two occasions in 2009 by the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The bears were found to be living in cages so small that they were unable to “stand up freely and turn around” or get out of their own excrement. These animals are confined to travel cages, unable to roam or develop appropriate social bonds with others, and are forced to perform menial tricks unnatural to them.
Life is no better for the camels performing at the Morocco Shrine Circus. The camels and their trainer are a part of the Piccadilly Circus, which was recently cited by the USDA for numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including transporting animals in crowded and unsafe enclosures and failing to provide adequate veterinary care for an injured animal. Time and again, circus animals are found to live lives filled with unnecessary suffering for the sole purpose of a making profit for their captors.
Please join us in asking the Morocco Shriners to care for ALL beings, animals and children alike, and to remove animal acts from its circus.
Carrie LeBlanc and Adam Sugalski, Circus Protest and JaxProtest
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