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Former Shriner To Lead PETA Protest Against Shrine Circus

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Man Once Awarded Medal for Promoting Circus Has Change of Heart After Encounter With Elephant

For Immediate Release:
April 28, 2006

Lisa Wathne 757-622-7382

Denver — Holding a sign that reads, "This Shriner Thinks Animal Circuses Stink," and wearing a traditional fez, former El Jebel Shrine (Denver) member Nicholas Trammell will lead PETA members in a protest against the Shrine Circus in Denver on Saturday. Trammell—whose family’s involvement with the Shrine goes back generations and who was awarded the "Jewel of El Jebel" medal for his work promoting and selling tickets to the Shrine Circus in 2004—is calling on the organization to immediately end its affiliation with cruel circuses:

Date: Saturday, April 29
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Place: National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt St.

"In 2004, I fell in love with a sweet and kind elephant at the Shrine Circus," says Trammell. "She picked me out of a crowd of people and went out of her way to nuzzle me and communicate in spite of her handler’s instructions. She touched me deeply and confirmed my conviction that no creature of such beauty and intelligence should ever have to endure the harsh treatment forced upon circus animals."

Animals in circuses are trained and disciplined using bullhooks, whips, electric prods, muzzles, and chains. PETA has obtained video footage of a prominent trainer repeatedly striking elephants with a bullhook and instructing other trainers to always make sure that such beatings are severe and hidden from the public.

El Jebel Shrine uses the Jordan World Circus, which has an abysmal history of animal abuse and neglect. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has fined and repeatedly cited the circus for violating the Animal Welfare Act, including failing to provide adequate veterinary care, handling animals in an abusive manner, failing to provide adequate space, and failing to provide shelter and drinking water. The circus has also had numerous dangerous animal incidents. An elephant escaped and ran amok in downtown Muskegon, Mich.; elephants, one of whom had previously killed a handler, attacked their trainers while giving rides to children; and the circus was fined $500 when an animal escaped from a cage and attacked a girl.

For more information, please visit PETA’s Web site Circuses.com.

Further Reading:

The Royal Order of Jesters - The Shriners Secret Society Secret Society - 'Mirth is King'

The Shriners - The 'Krafty' Klowns