The University of South Carolina-Aiken has agreed to make Loomis Bros. Circus the last animal act to appear at its convention center following a successful PETA appeal.

Loomis Bros., a circus notorious for beating its animals in the name of entertainment, performed at the Convocation Center last weekend. It currently features three captive elephants and six white Siberian tigers in its program. Allegations against the circus’ big cat and elephant exhibitor Brian Franzen include keeping the caged tigers out in the rain without shelter and failing to provide animals with medical care. There is also a recent video of Franzen striking an elephant in the jaw with a bullhook, and he has been accused of using painful handling techniques to get the animals to perform.

USC-Aiken joins more than 620 venues and committees across America in banning or restricting the use of animals for entertainment. Unfortunately, captive animals are still permitted throughout America, though much of the American public are against animal involvement in performances like those of circuses. One-third of Americans believe that all animals should receive the same rights as humans, meaning there is no place for organizations like Loomis Bros. in our world.

Of the successful ban at USC-Aiken, PETA Foundation Associate Director of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Rachel Mathews said, “by banning animal circuses, USC–Aiken is recognizing that there’s nothing entertaining about beating and intimidating elephants, big cats, or other animals into performing tricks. PETA is calling on audiences everywhere to skip circuses that use animals and choose wonderful animal-free ones, such as Cirque Italia, Circus Vargas, and Kelly Miller Circus.”

Life for a captive animal working in the circus is not much of a life at all. These animals spend the majority of their time behind bars, generally in cramped conditions that vastly restrict their natural movement. Babies are often taken from their parents at a very young age, meaning they can’t form the social bonds so many of these animals depend on to thrive. These animals face a cruel existence, as pain is part of the training methods that handlers use to force animals into performing unnatural tricks. In addition to this, these animals are often starved or severely dehydrated and suffer from a number of health problems like obesity, arthritis, and genetic defects from captive inbreeding.

This ban by USC-Aiken is a victory for PETA as well as all those who care about animals throughout the world. Do your part by refusing to fund entertainment that includes animals performing tricks in captivity. Choose animal-free performances instead, boycott circuses like Loomis Bros., and spread the word of their treatment of the animals in their supposed care.

Image Source: Annie Spratt/Unsplash