In last week’s Sun, a concerned citizen wrote a letter about the treatment of animals in The Shrine Circus. This will be our 68th annual Shrine Circus. The show opens today, March 13th, and runs through Sunday at the Event Center on the Hamburg Fairgrounds.
The writer pointed out that the Shriners do many good things, and indeed we do help thousands of children every year, at our 22 hospitals and burn treatment centers. The Shriners also love animals. While some circuses may be abusive to animals, I can assure you The Shrine Circus is not. We bring in acts of the highest quality with trainers whose records are impeccable.
Two years ago, a local TV station showed up unannounced and asked to film our animals backstage. Their report confirmed that our animals are well fed, well cared for and showed absolutely no signs of any abuse. Every year, officials with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and federal agencies inspect our animals for any signs of neglect. We run a first-class operation.
Last year, we set an all-time record for attendance at our circus. The reason is that we provide people with affordable family entertainment. The majority of our acts are human acts (in fact, our feature act this year is not an animal act, but a motorcycle on a high wire that has never been seen before in Western New York).
We love animals, just like everyone else. Our dog act last year was made up of dogs rescued from animal shelters. Our elephants were from one family. Elephants are like people, in the way they bond with each other. In the wild, these elephants would likely have been separated through death by hunters, or other circumstances.
The Shriners take pride in both our animal and human acts. We will never tolerate abuse of any kind, toward any animal in our circus. When parents bring their children to The Shrine Circus, they can be assured that they will see the highest quality, animal-friendly and most entertaining show of the year. To our critics, we welcome you to come out and give us a try. You may find we have a lot more in common than you think.
Shrine Circus Committee