Target: Los Angeles Shriners
Goal: Commend the Los Angeles Shriners for their decision to not allow animals in this year’s L.A. Shrine Circus
Animal rights advocates have been protesting the annual circuses hosted by Shriners International, a social organization, for years due to numerous incidents of animal neglect and cruelty. In addition, on a few occasions, animals at these circuses have run amok, harmed and killed people. The protests have paid off, though, as the Los Angeles Shriners recently announced they will not allow animals in their 2014 L.A. Shrine Circus. They need to be commended for their adoption of this more humane outlook.
Shriners groups across the country have been hosting fundraising circuses for decades. Each individual Shriners group hosts its own circus, leasing animals from a number of businesses. Many of these companies have been punished by the USDA for Animal Welfare Act violations. According to bornfreeusa.org, the “USDA has cited Shrine Circus animal exhibitors for failing to provide veterinary care; failing to provide adequate food, water, and shelter from the elements; and failing to handle animals in a manner that ensures their safety as well as public safety.”
Numerous incidents of animal abuse and human death and injury have occurred at Shriners circuses. In 2004, in an unprovoked attack, a chimpanzee performing at a Shrine Circus bit a spectator, who was sent to the hospital. In 2009, the USDA cited a Shrine Circus animal exhibitor for failing to provide adequate veterinary care for his elephants — two of these starving animals had to be taken in by the San Diego Zoo. In 2010, an animal handler died from traumatic wounds resulting from an elephant attack.
Shrine Circuses provide aerial acts, clowns, rides, games, and other forms of entertainment; performing animals are not even needed to entertain and to raise funds. Why then abuse animals and threaten the safety of animal handlers as well as circus spectators? Please sign the petition below to commend the Los Angeles Shriners for not allowing animals in their 2014 L.A. Shrine circus. If the circus is a success maybe other Shriners groups will feel compelled to stop using animals in their own circuses. That would be a great triumph for animal rights in America.
Dear Los Angeles Shriners,
I was gladdened to hear of your recent decision to not allow animals in your 2014 L.A. Shrine Circus. Over the years Shriners have failed to provide their leased circus animals with adequate care as per Animal Welfare Act standards, with many animals being starved and abused. In addition, Shrine Circus spectators have been bitten by chimpanzees and animal handlers have died in elephant attacks. This threat to human life and mistreatment of animals is not acceptable.
Shrine Circuses provide many forms of entertainment: aerial acts, clowns, rides, games, as well as others. You do not even need circus animals to entertain and to raise funds. I commend you for choosing a more humane path this year by not allowing animals in your 2014 L.A. Shrine circus, and I hope you remain committed to this decision.
[Your Name Here]
Photo by: Ellin Beltz at Wikimedia Commons