Officials of The Performing Animal Welfare Society applauded the Los Angeles Shriners today for announcing they will not use performing animals in this year's Shrine Circus.
It will be the first time in 88 years the Shriners will not use performing animals in the circus, according to Ed Stewart, president of California-based PAWS.
"PAWS commends the Shriners for making the decision to present a fundraising event that does not rely on the use of performing animals," said Stewart, a former Hollywood animal trainer with more than 30 years experience caring for elephants and other exotic animals.
"No matter the Shriners' reason for deciding to go animal-free this year, it's an important sign of the times," Stewart said. "Animal circuses are inhumane, outdated and they should be a thing of the past."
The Shrine Circus has for years been a target off animal welfare protests, due to its use of performing elephants, elephant rides and tigers.
The Shrine Circus is scheduled April 11-13 in the Al Malaikah Shrine Center at Jefferson Boulevard and and Figueroa Street and promises games, rides and amusements, according to the group's website.
"PAWS will be there to support it," Stewart said.
—City News Service