EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) The annual Hadi Shrine Circus is just three days away at Ford Center, but a local group still has their concerns. They say the use of animals in circuses is inhumane and they want animal-free circuses become the norm.
The group asked the Evansville City Council to ban the use of animals at entertainment venues.
“We just need people to take the courage and make that choice to say we’re no longer going to do this. It’s outdated, it’s archaic and it’s time to evolve,” says Christine Beyer.
They say too many times, trainers have mistreated their animals and that the cages they are kept in are too small. These protesters say the practices go against the animals’ natural instincts, and also could bring harm to spectators.
“Any animal that is abused and held in captivity for many years is a ticking time bomb and we’re very concerned with public safety when in close proximity to wild animals.”
Councilwoman Missy Mosby she has ensured that the Hadi Shriners have everyone’s safety in mind. “I really feel that the Shriners are making sure that things are good with the circus and that animals aren’t being mishandled or mistreated. If there is to be found any mistreatment of animals, then that will be addressed.”
Protesters from many parts of Indiana gave their testimonies, but ultimately the council believed the issue needed to be taken to the state level.
“I don’t think the city council is in position to know what to do or how to do it in dealing with exotic animals,” said Councilman Ron Beane, “We’re not experts in that. So we’ll leave it to the state, they regulate that.”
“We feel we have an uphill battle in educating and making everyone aware of what goes behind the scenes to make the animals perform as well and we are not going to stop until we do get a change,” says Sandy Jey.
Hadi Shriner Dale Thomas says just last week they did extensive research to make sure that the acts they are hiring are reputable and treat their animals fairly.