Feds cite UniverSoul Circus after PETA complaint about tigers

universoul circus tiger
A shot from footage taken in 2011 by PETA showing a UniverSoul Circus tiger with its foot caught in its cage.
Credit: YouTube / PETA

Considering paying a visit to the UniverSoul Circus when it travels to Philadelphia next week?

PETA wants you to think twice.

The animal rights group recently filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture claiming tigers traveling with the UniverSoul Circus “were languishing in undersized metal cages during 90-degree–plus weather.”

The agency then cited UniverSoul exhibitor Mitchel Kalmanson for violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, alleging he failed to provide the tigers with adequate space and required exercise.

“While UniverSoul’s exhibitors flout the laws written to protect animals, these animals suffer, stored away like inanimate props,” PETA Foundation director of captive animal law enforcement Delcianna Winders said in a statement.

“The suffering endured by these big cats, who spend most of their lives locked up in tiny metal cages, should prompt Philadelphia-area residents to stay away from UniverSoul Circus and all other circuses that use animals.”

According to PETA, Kalmanson’s tiger handler told the USDA inspector they keep the tigers caged 24/7 for at least the four to seven weeks they’re on the road.

Kalmanson was also cited by the USDA in 2011 after the filing of another PETA complaint featuring video footage of a UniverSoul Circus tiger struggling after its foot became pinned underneath a panel of a cage.

He was again cited in April for failing to properly care for a limping tiger, for putting a tiger at risk of strangulation and for denying tigers adequate space and exercise.

Kalmanson was in 2008 ordered to pay a $6,000 penalty for two tiger escapes that took place while exhibiting with UniverSoul.

The circus will be held next Oct. 31 through Nov. 10 at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts.


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