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Although Shriners claim to be dedicated to compassion and service, elephants, tigers, and other animals exploited in Shrine circuses live under the constant threat of being hit with bullhooks—sharp steel-tipped rods that resemble fireplace pokers—whips, and other weapons to force them to perform confusing and painful tricks.
Shrine circuses routinely work with notoriously cruel exhibitors—such as the Carson & Barnes Circus, whose appallingly long history of animal abuse includes more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act—to supply the animals for their acts. Video footage of a veteran trainer even shows him instructing trainers to sink bullhooks into elephants’ flesh and twist them until the animals scream.
Times have changed. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced its return to the circus ring using only willing human participants. The Western Montana Shrine Circus ended wild-animal acts, Shrine circuses in Canada haven’t used wild animals in years, the AAD Shriners bade farewell to elephant and tiger acts, and the Bahia, Jerusalem, and Melha shrines have discontinued their annual animal circuses.
Please use the form below to urge the Hadi, Moolah, Sharon, and Yaarab shrines to stop using animals in their circuses.