EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) – The Hadi Shrine Circus opened in Evansville on Thursday night.

Officials boast 25 unique performances during the two and a half hour show. However, the circus was met with opposition from peaceful protestors advocating for animal rights. Eight peaceful protests are planned one hour before each circus show time.

Protests call for the end of using animals in circus and traveling shows, especially captive wild animals like elephants. The Shriners say the elephants are treated well and whips have not been used in the circus for a long time. The group demands a ban on wild animals in circuses and traveling shows through a city ordinance.

The Hadi Shrine Circus returns to the Ford Center on Thanksgiving Day and runs through November 27 with a total of 8 shows. The full schedule can be found on the Hadi Shrine Circus website.