Victory is in the air for circus animals. At least for those animals who will no longer be endangered by the Cole Bros. Circus. Last fall, PETA asked Simon Property Group, to ban exotic-animal exhibits on all its properties. The group is one of the largest real estate companies in the country and happens to own a lot of land where circus performances took place. One place in particular was a mall in Winchester, Virginia where the Cole Bros. Circus makes an annual appearance during the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival.
Simon Property Group was convinced to enact the ban that PETA requested. So if Cole Bros. wanted to have hold a performance, as it did annually, it would have to remove all animals from the show or skip the city altogether. In a surprising move, Cole Bros. announced that it 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.”
Cole Bros. announcement is significant and may very well impact the way other circuses run their performances. The victory for the circus animals who won’t be endangered, physically and psychologically, because of this move is fantastic. But there are many other circus shows that still use animals in their acts for the entertainment of people.
Some of these animals are subject to the cruelest treatment starting with being ripped from their families in the wild to being shackled and tortured with training tools like bullhooks to being placed in small, confined traveling cages before being used as amusement for humans.
This may very well signal a change for Cole Bros., a group that has had a long history of animal endangerment. In the past the group received fines for violating the Animal Welfare Act and for violating the Endangered Species Act.
PETA said, “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 performances.”