Circus draws small protest

September 17, 2018

FORT MOHAVE — A small group of area residents stood along Aztec Drive on Sunday afternoon in an effort to dissuade people from going to the circus down the street.

The Mohave Shrine Circus, representing the Mohave Shrine Club, is hosted by Jordan World Circus and the local show was at the Mohave Crossing Event Center. These shows help raise money for the Shriners, a part of the Mason organization in Bullhead City, which are involved in a variety of community and charitable efforts.

Carolyn and Tom Lang, a couple from Lake Havasu City, held signs for people in vehicles to see as they rolled by in the direction of the event center. Standing with the Longs were Dani Zachary and Sandra Whitmarsh, area volunteers with Keepers of the Wild Nature Park.

“We found out how horrible it was,” said Carolyn Lang about how she and her husband began to work to stop this form of entertainment from featuring animals. “We’re retired and figured we had time in our lives to help the world.”

She asserted that animals in circuses are beaten, shackled, whipped and bullhooked during training that begins when they are extremely young.

“And they spend most of their lives in cages being moved from town to town for each show,” Long said.

Long said the animal protection activities of Carrie LeBlanc, executive director of CompassionWorks International, caused her to become interested in the welfare of performing animals. LeBlanc’s group organized the Worldwide Rally for Cecil the Lion in 2016, a demonstration against trophy hunting. The group and its allied organization, Circus Protest, both focus on animal rights issues.

“She showed me one person can make a difference,” Long said.

Jordan World Circus’s website lists a variety of performances, including some featuring animals: elephants, tigers, camels, horses and even dogs. No full list of specific acts during Sunday’s show could be found online.

Tonight, the Longs and what they anticipate will be a substantially larger group plan to be near the Havasu 95 Speedway, where the Jordan World Circus performs in Lake Havasu City. The group plans to carry signs and offer informational literature against circuses having animals performing.

Shriners International, the umbrella organization to which the local club belongs, has a network of 22 hospitals in North America that helps young patients at no cost to their families.

Jordan World Circus, based in Las Vegas, bills itself as “one of North America’s premiere traveling 3-Ring circuses.”

“These animals are treated fantastic,” said Terry Loll, president of the Mohave Shrine Club. He was with a group of club members outside the Event Center before the circus began Sunday.

The Jordan World Circus has been performing to help the Shrine Clubs and other organizations for years. It has been doing a show to benefit the local club “for at least a few years,” Loll said.

In April 2017, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors authorized the county attorney to look into a possible ban on traveling circuses because of allegations of animal abuse. No draft ordinance has come back to the supervisors for their consideration.

LeBlanc was among people who spoke at that Board of Supervisors meeting. So was Keepers of the Wild owner Jonathan Kraft, according to previous reports.

District 2 Sup. Hildy Angius and District 3 Sup. Buster Johnson of Lake Havasu City both voted against having the county attorney’s office look into the matter.

Jordan World Circus’s office was closed for the weekend.

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