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Students protest animal acts outside Jordan World Circus


Students protest the Jordan World Circus on Nov. 5 outside of Finch Fieldhouse. 

As families and attendees filed into Finch Fieldhouse to experience the Jordan World Circus, a group of eight students stood in protest of the circus’ use of wild animals for entertainment.

The traveling circus made a return visit to Central Michigan University, with two shows at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 5. The group assembled to protest the university hosting or advertising events that use wild animals, specifically elephants, tigers and horses.

“We are hoping to spread some information and raise awareness to the other students that may be against it, so we can come together to make sure this doesn’t get brought to our campus again,” said Muskegon senior Natalie Bowen, representing the Student Advocates for Vegetarianism and Veganism. “A lot of students our age are more aware of the cruelty that goes on with the circus, but I’m sure a lot of adults and small children aren’t really thinking about it; they just think it’s a cool place to take their kid.”

According to University Communications Assistant Director Ari Harris, the Jordan World Circus has performed at CMU for many years.

"CMU will honor its contract with Jordan World Circus, but university administration will not extend the engagement with the company beyond this current show," Harris said. "We respect and understand the concern expressed by some in our community."

The protesting group said that Jordan World Circus rents their animals from companies that have past animal cruelty allegations against them.

“These animals aren’t dreaming of doing this their entire lives, they are forced into this and have no choice,” Bowen said. 

Elephants from the Jordan World Circus stand behind a gate on Nov. 5 in the parking lot of Finch Fieldhouse. 

Group members clarified that they were not attacking attendees, but addressing the university and event coordinators for giving a platform for animal exploitation.

“Animals want to live in their natural habitats… JUST LIKE US,” the group chanted. “Animals want to be with their families… JUST LIKE US.”

Westland senior Mackenna Wietecha gathered signatures for a PETA petition, which was targeting CMU, DeltaPlex Arena and Conference Center and Kellogg Arena for hosting the Jordan World Circus.

“I don’t want to accuse or come at people, but I want to get it out that there are some students who invest in this school,” said Grosse Pointe junior Josie Riley, “and this doesn’t really represent what I believe is right.”