Shut Down Cruel Circus


Target: Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary

Goal: Revoke The Culpepper and Merriweather Circus’s license for multiple alleged animal cruelty violations.

The Culpepper and Merriweather (C&M) Circus has a long list of citations from the USDA regarding unethical animal treatment. Alleged examples include not having a veterinarian on-site and not providing their animals with protection from the elements. Additionally, there was an instance of sibling tigers reportedly breeding, which subsequently led to the mother tiger rejecting the cubs. Two allegedly died, and the third was confiscated. When it comes to the health and safety of animals, long lists of grievances are not acceptable.

Throughout its 30 years of existence, The C&M Circus has reportedly experienced almost yearly mishaps and USDA citations, the heftiest punishment being a six-month license suspension. Despite this, the company claims transparency and invites guests to take tours of the animal compounds. However, opponents point out that there are larger issues at hand. Animal trainers allegedly use painful tools such as electric rods, hooks, and whips in order to force the animals to perform unnatural tricks. There is also the concern of travel standards–animals are reportedly forced to travel thousands of miles in cramped cages, without temperature control or waste elimination.

While the larger battle is defeating the circus industry altogether, a good start is boycotting individual companies, especially ones with extensive lists of injustices. Sign the petition below to tell the USDA that you do not support The C&M Circus’s cruel practices and believe their license should be revoked.


Dear Mr. Vilsack,

I am writing to you in regards to the Culpepper and Merriweather (C&M) Circus and their alleged unethical treatment of animals. Their long list of grievances, including reportedly allowing siblings to breed and allegedly not properly caring for a tiger cub, reflects negligence and irresponsibility. In a domain that is already considered inhumane by many, I simply cannot stand by and let their company continue to violate animal welfare guidelines.

The fact that animals are forced to perform unnatural stunts and behaviors is cruel in and of itself. Circus animals deserve to be free from abusive training methods such as electric rods, hooks, and whips, which are common in circus training. Additional abuse in the form of long, cramped travels is also unacceptable. When combined with their long list of USDA citations and license suspension, it becomes clear that The C&M Circus does not deserve to be operational.

We must not allow The C&M Circus’s captive animals to suffer any longer. Please take steps to revoke their license, which will give these wild animals the life they deserve.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: DirkJan Ranzijn

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  1. i hate all circus’s no animal should ever do what these poor animals are made to do, and as for the people that go to see them, they should be shown how they are treated when they are not working.

  2. Make the circus freaks take the place of the animals!!!

  3. Great circuses do exist without the exploitation and abuse of animals – it’s call Cirque Du Soleil

  4. Heather Brophy says:


  5. Lisbeth Alvarado Sanchez says:

    It is so upsetting that the USDA doesn’t close this hell holes once and for all. I don’t think they care for the well being of this magnificent creatures. They should be sent to a sanctuary.

  6. Myrna Burdick says:

    Mr. Vilsack,
    I am not sure what your qualifications were for
    your job, but like others before you –YOU are doing a piss-poor job of protecting animals.

    Puppy mills! Factory farms! Circuses! Road side Petting Zoos!

    I know that I am being very critical, but WHAT have you done besides sit on your, probably, fat ass and twittled your day away while telling your family the big lie – “I did a lot today to
    safeguard animals”. DO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL FOR

  7. Sadly this poor mother tiger rejected her beautiful cubs & let them die because she didn’t want them to suffer all their lives & have the abuse & torture like she has suffered all of her life. So sad!!!!

  8. What does Tom Vilsack do ???? NOTHING !! Animal welfare is under the wrong department. You can better start an petition and write to Obama to sack Tom Vilsack !!

  9. We MUST NOT allow animal cruelty to continue — we, as a society, MUST place the health & happiness of our animals high on the Agenda — this circus’ practices strike to the heart of so much animal suffering — when there is profit to be made on the backs of animals, history shows that those backs are often severely strained & broken — this MUST NOT continue — transfer these animals to a Sanctuary where they can finally live happily, in good health & comfortably.

  10. Christine Bennett says:

    Confining animals and forcing them to perform is NOT ‘entertainment’… it is unnatural, cruel and wrong. It is time that mankind stopped exploiting animals and high time that people stopped attending these performances.

    Stop perpetuating the cruelty… and don’t take children to these circuses: this teaches them lack of respect for animal welfare. Instead, take them to human performances of skilled acrobatics.


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