WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Melha Shrine Circus is coming, and that means acrobats, clowns, and other entertainers will thrill the crowds at the Eastern States Coliseum. But it is what will not be part of the show that has earned the circus the praise of one of the country’s most vocal animal rights groups.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is thanking the Melha Shrine Circus for not making use of animal acts in this year’s performance. Once a main draw to circuses, the use of elephants, lions, tigers, horses, and other animals have been increasingly criticized by PETA and other groups. Claims of mistreatment of circus animals during touring and training have drawn protests at some shows.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced last year that they are phasing-out the use of elephants in their performances, though they will continue to use other animals.
PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman says that Melha Shrine Circus’s decision to forego the use of all animals in the show shows how modern circuses can still entertain audiences with only talented human performers.
“PETA will continue to call on circuses across the country to follow the Melha Shrine’s progressive example of creativity and compassion,” Reiman said in a statement sent to 22News.
The Melha Shrine Circus debuts at 7:00 Thursday night, running for a total of seven performances through Sunday afternoon.