How Does UniverSoul Circus Support Slavery?

Actor and author Robbyne Kaamil, whose great-great-grandmother was a slave on a North Carolina plantation, draws parallels between UniverSoul Circus and human slavery that are too hard to ignore.

Animals held in captivity at UniverSoul Circus are a part of a modern-day slave trade that has resulted in a billion-dollar industry built entirely on suffering and enslavement. Slavery at UniverSoul Circus involves confining elephants, big cats, and other animals and forcing them to perform confusing and unnatural tricks through fear of punishment.

UniverSoul elephant handlers use bullhooks—weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp steel hook on one end—in order to force the elephants into submission. These devices are so cruel that they have been banned from a number of cities, including Los Angeles and Richmond, Virginia, because of the pain they inflict on elephants.

UniverSoul’s big-cat supplier was cited for locking tigers in cramped cages 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the entire four to seven weeks that they are on the road. He was also cited when inspectors found his trailers to be foul-smelling, caked with filth, and infested with flies and maggots.

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