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Today’s Central Florida Future, the newspaper of the University of Central Florida, reported the disappointing decision by UCF President John Hitt to take no action concerning annual performances by the Shrine circus. Each year, Orlando’s Bahia Shriners bring elephants, bears, tigers and other animals to campus. Last year’s circus included a depressing act in which muzzled and leashed bears were forced to ride bicycles and balance on balls.

The university recently celebrated the opening of a new campus arena. ARFF had requested that UCF adopt a policy allowing only animal-free circuses at the new arena.

When the president and his staff discussed the circus issue on Monday, local ARFF members and student activists from the Body of Animal Rights Campaigners (BARC) held a protest outside the meeting. BARC Co-President Kayla Bloomer summed-up the mood on campus following the president’s decision, “We’re disappointed, but motivated. We saw a lot of student support for a policy against animal acts, so this is not over.”

By coincidence, the first circus to perform at UCF’s new arena was animal-free. Last weekend, the Moscow International Circus thrilled crowds with jugglers, motorcycle stunts, aerial ballerinas, trampoline acrobats and other willing human performers.

ARFF will continue to lobby the university to kick circus cruelty off campus. You can help by contacting Orlando’s Bahia Shriners and urge them to replace its circus with non-animal fundraisers, such as golf tournaments, car shows, festivals, or an animal-free circus. Let them know that several Shrine temples in Florida have chosen not to host circuses.

Sid Massey, Potentate
E-mail: Potentate@bahiashrine.org

Donald Grable, Circus Chairman
Phone: (407) 834-8000 (Sorry, we couldn’t find an e-mail address for Don)

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