Video: PETA Comes To Jacksonville To Protest The Treatment Of UniverSoul Circus Animals


With the UniverSoul Circus arriving in town this week, PETA followed the act until its final stop in Jacksonville on Tuesday.

To start a conversation about treating circus animals, PETA used a human model, whose body was painted to look like a tiger at the Friendship Fountain.

PETA spokeswoman Mysti Lee said the tactic was used in other Florida cities by the animal rights group as they relayed information to those passing by.

“It’s a very interesting way to get people to talk about issues that they wouldn’t have addressed otherwise,” Lee said. “Our volunteer carries her body for animals who have never had a say in what happened to theirs.”

Lee said they didn’t want the circus to shut down, just to stop using wild animals in shows.

Another PETA activist, Nikki Ford, who was Tuesday’s model, said the circus should move to place more emphasis on human performers than animals.

“Wild animals have no place in the circus and we want UniverSoul to remove these animals from their show and instead focus on their human talents,” said Ford.

When asked about PETA’s allegations, Circus UniverSoul responded to WJCT News with an email that read:

“The UniverSoul Circus believes that all animals have the right to humane treatment and should never be mistreated or mistreated in any way. All of our animal sellers are subject to federal, state, and local animal welfare regulations. We care about the welfare of each and every animal that travels and performs in our shows, and we view them all as valued members of our cast providing high quality family entertainment that brings joy, happiness and laughter to audiences. around the world.”

Kevin Venardos, Producer and Track Manager of Venardos Circus, has been in the industry for over 20 years. He said not all circuses have animals like his, and abuse doesn’t always happen for those who do.

“If people can conceive of this point, then a more rational type of conversation [can] keep on going. Just yelling at each other, it’s not going anywhere. And in the end, all the animals continue to need care, ”said Venardos.

Venardos said there is an appeal to performances with human acts, as there is to those who enjoy the traditional format.

PETA will continue its protest, joining other animal rights groups, at the opening night Tuesday of UniverSoul Circus, located off Bay Street.

The circus takes place April 3-8 at Metropolitan Park. More information is available on the The Universoul circus website.

Joslyn Simmons can be reached at [email protected], 904-358-6316


Boyd S. Abbott

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