One very good reason that the Shriner's exotic animal acts are priced
so low is that animal abuse just doesn't sell like it used to.
Today's kids are far better informed about the miserable lives led by
captive tigers and elephants and they don't want to see it. In fact,
they spend hundreds of hours building their own shows, video shows
about the abuses involved in circus acts, pseudo sanctuariers (where
animals are bred, sold and traded) and a myriad of other awful
situations that people took for granted as being their God given right
to inflict just a generation ago.
If you visit ChatBigCats.com you will meet a lot of these kids, and
their parents that they often times have enlightened, doing all they
can to end circus acts and other abuses that use exotic animals for
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
Sign our petition to protect tigers from being farmed here:
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The author's email is firstname.lastname@example.org
The Shriners' national HQ is in Tampa, and their PR department
contact info is: email@example.com, tel 813-281-8162
I found a website for the Shrine Circus (http://www.shrinecircus.com)
but I think it's just an information page — it sounds like there are
multiple Shrine Circuses that benefit local Shriners?
By Kellie B. Gormly
Thursday, April 3, 2008
This weekend, tigers will leap, trapeze artists will fly through the
air, motorcycles will do 360s in spherical cages, acrobats will
perform daredevil stunts and goofy clowns will entertain during
several Shrine Circus performances at the Mellon Arena.
With the Shrine Circus, you get it all — whether you're a child,
adult or grandparent, there is something you'll love, says Paul Levy,
the Pittsburgh chairman and promoter for the Shrine Circus, which
plays Friday through Sunday.
"It still continues to be the least-expensive family show that comes
into Mellon Arena," Leavy says.
The features and acts in this year's Shrine Circus include three
elephants that do tricks; Rocky the Boxing Kangaroo; dogs that catch
and return Frisbees; and the famous "Grandma the Clown," a celebrity
goofball from the Big Apple Circus. The other Shrine Circus clowns
perform numerous high jinks, including a trampoline act. The
Incredible Hulk also will make an appearance at the circus.
One of the circus' most popular acts features five "Terrific Tigers"
from the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Sarasota, Fla.
Clayton Rosaire — whose family owns the sanctuary that has 33 tigers
and lions, plus other wild animals like bears and monkeys — leads
the circus' tiger act, which is set to the theme song from "The Pink
The tiger troupe includes the colossal, 750-pounder named Conan, whom
Rosaire calls the comic relief of the group. Conan is known for his
funny facial expressions and other entertaining body movements and
interactions with his trainer, like hitting Rosaire with his tail.
"He's a one in a million … and a great guy," Rosaire says of Conan,
who he calls a "big Baby Huey."
Rosaire's tigers do all kinds of movements in their ring to entertain
the audience. Yet, everything they do is natural behavior for the
tigers, he says.
"The only difference is we train them to do it in a routine
sequence," Rosaire says.
The big cats, he says, learn to perform based on positive
reinforcement and rewards, with things like food and praise, says
Rosaire, a ninth-generation family worker with exotic animals. He
often gives the tigers shish-kebab meat for a reward during circus
"You have to make it fun, and you have to make it interesting,"
Rosaire says. "You really have to watch the cats and read them and
teach them accordingly."
After a lifetime of working with these exotic cats, Rosaire, an only
child, calls the felines "the brothers and sisters I never had."
Although the tigers are wild predators by nature, Rosaire says he has
such a warm and close relationship with them that he is as
comfortable around tigers as people are around their pet housecats.
Audience enthusiasm means a lot to the tigers, who can sense when
people are excited, and feed off of that, Rosaire says.
"That's why we like doing these shows," he says. "Sometimes, people
forget how beautiful these animals really are, and how majestic they
Kellie B. Gormly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-
When: 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Friday; 10:30 a.m., 2:30 and 7 p.m.
Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday
Admission: Most seats for the Friday evening performance are $10. For
the other shows, tickets are $13-$19. Giant Eagle Family Fun Packs —
with four tickets, four hot dogs and four drinks — are available for
Where: Mellon Arena, Uptown