UniverSoul Circus comes to Memphis amid protests over animal use

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MEMPHIS, TN - Another packed performance for UniverSoul Circus, as
Memphis area school kids fill the seats.

Lucky the Ringmaster says it's been 24 years of making people laugh and leaving them in awe.

"When they come out to our show they feel like they are in a family reunion. They come out to party. They come out for some great entertainment," says Lucky.

Part of that entertainment includes animals.
There are camels and elephants for the kids to ride and horses used in performances.

That has made UniverSoul Circus the object of animal rights protestors.

PETA has demonstrated shows across the country including the one this week in Memphis.

PETA representatives say animals used in performances are being mistreated.

"We are asking Universal to remove animals from their acts,"  says  Tricia Lebkuecher, a PETA campaigner. "Animals in any circus perform out of fear and intimidation."

"What is a circus without animals," says Lucky.

UniverSoul stands by how it treats its animals.

So what do those who fill the circus stands think about the animals involved?

"I have no problem with the animals. The horses they look healthy and happy," says Ronald Jones of Memphis.

PETA says the show has many human highlights besides the animals.

"With Sea World stock plunging and Ringling Brothers closing, its never been more clear the public has turned against abusive animal performances," says Lebkuecher.

"When it comes to the shows, the animals actually react with us. They let the kids get on the elephant rides and how the animals respond to the humans very well means the professionals the tamers and everybody that trains the animals are doing a good job also," says Miles Brown, who lives in downtown Memphis.

"UniverSoul Circus as long as we stay relevant and family friendly as long as we have a little bit of everything for everybody we will be around for another 25 years," says Lucky.

We asked UniverSoul Circus for a statement on how animals are treated.

We are waiting to hear back.

The show goes on in Memphis through this weekend.

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