Following a plea from PETA and more than 65,000 of its members and supporters, the Moscow International Circus confirmed today that it will use only willing human performers and no animals in its upcoming shows at Honolulu’s Neal S. Blaisdell Center.
The circus organizer’s decision comes just days before the 20thanniversary of the death of the elephant Tyke, who was gunned down by police after running amok, killing a trainer, and injuring 13 more people before a circus performance at the Blaisdell Center in 1994.
“As the world saw 20 years ago when Tyke lashed out and died bellowing on the street, forcing frustrated animals to perform in circuses can have deadly consequences,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA supporters and kind people around the world will be relieved to hear that the Moscow International Circus is putting safety and kindness first and going animal-free in Hawaii.”
As PETA—whose motto reads, in part, “Animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—pointed out in letters sent earlier this month to the circus and to the Blaisdell Center, animals suffer greatly when they’re caged and chained, shipped around the world, separated from their loved ones and all that is natural and important to them, and beaten into performing circus tricks. Acts that use big cats—as the Moscow International Circus had reportedly planned to do—also pose a risk to the public, as on average, captive big cats in the U.S. kill one person every year and injure 10 more.