NewsFix out of Dallas was none to happy when Shrine Circus producer and operator of Fun Time Shows, Bill Cunningham, announced that, henceforth, his show will no longer contain wild animals. He stressed getting in step with changing public attitudes over this increasingly contentious issue.
According to the report, several Shriners were not pleased with the decision.
Cunningham's reasoned stand, published in the current issue of Circus Report, states "There has been a rapid mood shift in public sentiment." Shrine circuses, he believes, need to implement a "model of circus entertainment that is in alignment with today's modern families and can help sustain the Shrine Circus for future generations."
He said his show will continue presenting dog and horse acts. But according to NewsFix, at the three-ring circus in Dallas in early September, "there wasn't a single animal in sight."
Cunningham told NewsFix, "No lions, no tigers, no elephants. Our stars are the human performers that are willing participate and dazzle our audiences."
He sees corporate funding, down in recent years, in time rebounding.
Countered Dallas Shrine president Doug Terranova, "If he doesn't want to include animals, that's fine. But it's very disingenuous for him to use PETA as a ploy when the simple fact is he's had an ongoing battle with the animal suppliers.”
A very interesting story. The ongoing battle is sure to escalate in the wake of Ringling-Barnum about to retire its elephant force from the spangled parade.