Victory! Hadi Shrine Circus Drops Elephant Acts

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Victory! Following a vigorous PETA campaign—which included more than 250,000 e-mails from our supporters, spirited protests, and letters to sponsors—the Hadi Shrine Circus will no longer exploit elephants in its shows. This is great news for elephants, who will no longer be forced to perform at the Hadi Shrine Circus under the constant threat of punishment.

Abusive Exhibitors and Broken Spirits: Why the Hadi Shrine Circus Earned its Bad Rap

The Hadi Shrine Circus has a history of hiring notoriously cruel exhibitors who keep elephants in shackles and abuse them with bullhooks—weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end. Carson & Barnes, whose appallingly long history of animal abuse includes citations for more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, was one of the exhibitors that supplied the animals to the Hadi Shrine Circus. Video footage of a veteran Carson & Barnes trainer even shows him instructing trainers to sink bullhooks into elephants’ flesh and twist them until the animals scream.

How PETA Raised Hell for Exploited Elephants

PETA worked relentlessly to push Hadi Shrine to end the use of elephants and other animals in its circus. We ran TV ads showing trainers jabbing elephants with bullhooks, sent letters demanding that the circus use animal-free acts, and held eye-catching demonstrations outside of Hadi Shrine events. At the 2023 Hadi Shriners’ gala, a PETA supporter crashed the party and waved a sign proclaiming, “Hadi Shriners Support Animal Abuse.” Local advocates also held protests.

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a peta supporter at a hadi shrine black tie event holding a sign

After hearing from PETA, many of Hadi Shrine’s top sponsors—including PPG Industries, DSM, Jagoe Homes, and Polyram Plastic Industries—cut ties with the circus. Sherwin-Williams also advised its local business groups to refrain from these types of sponsorships in the future.

This monumental decision means that the Hadi Shrine Circus is no longer among the last remaining circuses still exploiting elephants in its acts—but our work is far from over. PETA will continue to advocate on behalf of the elephants who live at the deceptively named Endangered Ark Foundation, which is operated by Carson & Barnes. The Oklahoma-based facility chains elephants, breeds them, and exploits them for lucrative public-feeding photo ops and other forms of entertainment.

Take Action for Elephants and Other Animals Used in Circuses

Elephants are highly social, intelligent animals who establish meaningful friendships and grieve for their lost loved ones. These sensitive animals don’t want to be used as props for live animal acts. Urge Shrine circuses to stop using animals in their shows:

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