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Massive Blow-Up Fez to Follow Shrine Circus Into Nacogdoches Over Big-Top Cruelty

For Immediate Release:
August 28, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Nacogdoches, Texas – They say everything is “bigger in Texas”—so on Wednesday, PETA supporters will inflate a gigantic, 15-foot-high fez that reads, “Shrine Circuses Abuse Animals,” outside the Sharon Shrine Circus in Nacogdoches and push the Shriners to modernize by keeping tormented animals out of their shows, just as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is doing. The larger-than-life spectacle will be part of a five-city campaign in which animal defenders will rally at each of the circus’s stops across East Texas.

When:    Wednesday, August 30, 6 p.m.

Where:    In front of Nacogdoches County Exposition & Civic Center, 3805 N.W. Stallings Dr., Nacogdoches

The Sharon Shrine Circus is among the last remaining shows that still use wild animals, who are confined to small crates, kept in shackles, and deprived of any semblance of a natural or happy life. The Sharon Shriners routinely partner with notoriously cruel exhibitors, including Carson & Barnes Circus, which has been cited for more than 100 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and whose head trainer was caught on video violently attacking elephants with bullhooks—weapons resembling a fireplace poker with a sharp hook on one end.

“In Shrine circuses, elephants, tigers, and other wild animals are tormented into performing stressful tricks through fear of pain and punishment,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Sharon Shriners to end these horrifying animal acts, as numerous other Shrines have already done.”

Some well-intentioned people may think that attending a Shrine circus benefits children. But ticket sales aren’t charitable donations: The profits are generally used to maintain the club’s premises and fund its activities.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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