ALBUQUERQUE — Pointing to a disturbing video of two elephants backstage during the February 2017 Albuquerque tour stop of the Shrine Circus, Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) sent a letter this morning calling on Shriners International to cease using wild animals in its Shrine Circuses.
The letter to Chris L. Smith, Imperial Potentate of Shriners International, states, “Video footage from your event and given to APNM shows an elephant believed to be Carol, exhibited by Brett Carden, who was left backstage, rocking and swaying in apparent distress. This is an abnormal stereotypic behavior that is a sign of stress, suggesting poor welfare and suffering.” The letter points to the second elephant seen in the footage as displaying stiffness of her rear legs, indicative of pain. It further notes that the Carden family, exhibitors licensed under the USDA, have been cited multiple times for serious violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
APNM Cruelty Case Manager Alan Edmonds notes, “The cruel practice of using elephants and other wild animals for entertainment has become increasingly controversial and publicly unpopular. Succumbing to years of public pressure to stop using elephants in their circus, Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus recently retired their elephants.”
“Now,” Edmonds continues, “It’s the Shriners’ turn. Mistreatment of these magnificent wild animals casts a very poor light on the Shriners organization, which needs to do the right thing: stop using wild animals as entertainment and cease promoting animal cruelty via their circus attractions.”