Media Releases

LAW Urges Inspection of Shrine Circus

TORONTO – Lawyers for Animal Welfare (LAW) is urging the Ontario Society for the Protection of Animals (OSPCA) to inspect travelling circuses in Ontario to ensure compliance with provincial animal welfare law. The Shrine Circus is scheduled to make stops in municipalities across Ontario this summer. The circus includes performances by animals such as elephants, horses and dogs.

LAW has written to the London Humane Society to ask it to inspect the Shrine Circus. The London Humane Society enforces provincial animal welfare legislation for the OSPCA. A copy of the letter can be viewed HERE.

LAW has also written to the OSPCA to ask it to inspect the Shrine Circus at tour stops in other areas of the Province. A copy of the letter can be viewed HERE.

A copy of the referenced Shrine Circus Fact Sheet can be viewed HERE.

*UPDATE: On June 28, 2011 LAW sent similar letters to each of the Belleville Humane Society, Brockville SPCA, Cornwall SPCA, Hamilton SPCA, Kingston Humane Society, Oshawa SPCA, Ottawa Humane Society, Petawawa SPCA, Peterborough Humane Society, Sarnia SPCA, St. Catherines Humane Society and Windsor Humane Society.

“Undercover footage has repeatedly shown that animals used in circuses may be kept in inadequate conditions and forced to perform through beatings with painful weapons,” said Nick Wright, Director and General Counsel for LAW. “The Shrine Circus has a long history of violating animal welfare laws in the United States, including many incidents that would likely be illegal in Ontario. LAW urges the OSPCA to closely monitor and inspect the Shrine Circus this summer to ensure animals are treated in accordance with Ontario’s animal welfare laws.”

The Ontario Society for the Protection of Animals Act sets out minimum standards of care that apply to animals, including wild animals kept in captivity – like circus elephants. These include measures like providing animals with adequate food, water, and medical attention; transporting animals in a manner that ensures their general welfare; providing animals with enough space to exercise; and ensuring that enclosures for wild animals are appropriately designed, safe and provide shelter.

The Act also prohibits the owner or custodian of an animal from causing or permitting an animal to be in distress.

Lawyers for Animal Welfare (LAW) is an incorporated Registered Charity dedicated to advancing public knowledge of animal practices and preventing the abuse and killing of animals through the enforcement of existing laws.

Tax deductible donations can be made on the website using credit card or PayPal at: or by contacting the organization to make alternative arrangements.

For more information contact LAW at: info AT