Written by Michelle Kretzer
You might recall that last fall, PETA convinced
Simon Property Group, the largest real estate company in the country, to ban exotic-animal exhibits
at all its properties. At one mall that Simon owns in Winchester, Virginia, Cole Bros. Circus makes an annual appearance during the city's Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival,
which means that Cole Bros. would have to skip this city altogether or use only
human performers in its show—no animals whatsoever.
Marion Doss|cc by 2.0
To our surprise, that is just what the circus
is doing! The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival announced that Cole Bros. had
created "a new-concept circus in 2012 entitled 'Circus of the Stars' that
they feel will be just as dazzling and just as amazing as previous circuses."
I'm of the opinion that seeing a circus replete with daring and funny human performers would be considerably more exciting than watching frightened, abused animals forced to do silly tricks.
Cole Bros. has a long history of repeatedly
violating the Animal Welfare Act and recently incurred a $15,000 fine after
PETA filed two complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding the
physical safety and psychological well-being of two of its elephants. It was
also forced to pay $150,000 for illegally selling endangered elephants to
someone wholly unable to provide them with proper care, in violation of the Endangered
But this humans-only circus is a great
start toward making Cole Bros.' abuse of animals a thing of the past, and PETA
will continue working to have venues host only the circus's animal-free
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.