Super Circus Spectacular Responds to Animal Circus Concerns

Super Circus Spectacular

SaultOnline received the following response from the Super Circus Spectacular Tour of Canada regarding an Letter to the Editor we published earlier today.


Michael Riley, Digital Marketing Director.

Hi Sault Online,

I’m one of the digital marketing directors for the Super Circus Spectacular Tour of Canada.

Just a few points I wanted to address.

  • This “letter” is highly misleading and defamatory.
  • Not a single clip in the video displayed is of the Super Circus Spectacular production. (Note all clips are from circuses in India)
  • It states animals spend 96% of there time in cages. This is false. The Super Circus Spectacular tour does NOT currently have any caged or exotic animals.

While the super Circus Super Circus Spectacular supports all well run and regulated circuses with exotic and/or domestic animals, the show features only domestic dogs and horses. A point I would like to make very clear.

The circus follows incredibly strict codes of practice and are under government regulation, with frequent and random inspections undertaken of our animal associates. Had any volition taken place, we simply would have no animals or licenses. Animals are expensive to keep and are within our very best interests to look after.

We believe it is imperative, that public media outlets ensure the content they distribute is of taste and of 100% fact. Allowing defamatory content can in some cases be illegal.

The ticket sales in Sault Ste. Marie have been amazing and the support we see is very humbling.

Thank you,
Michael Riley,

Digital Marketing Director.


  1. Leigh Ketchum . You must assume that I am very naive or extremely stupid. Tigers jump through rings of fire to get to the other side ? because that’s where the food is? All animals are afraid of fire and to force a tiger to jump through fire to get their food is horrible. I can only imagine the fear that these big cats feel. I’ve watched many undercover videos and what these animals are put through is horrendous. Whipping and slapping and other acts of abuse. These videos are not from PETA, but from concerned citizens and many Humane Society organizations.
    Elephants may be agile but they do not stand on their front or back legs in the wild. I’ve seen the training performed with bull hooks and and other devices which terrify these magnificent beasts into submission.
    I was once at a circus when I was young and didn’t know any better. The tigers were all in small cages with just barely enough room to turn around or lie down, When they were released into the circus ring, every cat defecated as they leapt from their cages because cats , or any animal for that matter, do not want to soil the area where they lie down. these tigers were then put back in their cages and loaded into big trucks and that is how they traveled from city to city, never getting out to run around. It is the same with elephants. Constantly chained up, shuffling from side to side, the only break they get is when they are performing tricks that no elephant would ever do on its own. After the circus, they again, are chained and forced into dark trucks where they stay until the next stop. Elephants are extremely intelligent animals, probably smarter than a lot of people, especially those who think they were put on earth for our amusement. To see them live their lives chained up breaks my heart. Sometimes a circus animal rebels. They have had enough! They break from their training and may attack one of the trainers, or in a couple of cases of mad elephants break free completely only to be shot until they are dead.
    No one can or ever will, convince me that circuses with animals are humane.
    If you can’t see the suffering and pain these animals go through, then you need to open your eyes and your heart and never take lightly the torture and suffering that REALLY goes on in a circus and the training that traumatizes these beautiful animals.

    • Here’s about a thousand images of elephants standing on their hind legs in the wild. It’s a natural behavior and it took me less than 10 seconds to google this.

      About the only thing elephants can’t do is jump.

      Yes Tigers and all animals are afraid of fire – as in Forrest fires or lung choking smoke. What they’re not afraid of is the fire that is used in a circus presentation. And absolutely, they jump through the fire hoop or any other obstacle to get to the other side. That is where the food (reward) is.

      Karen I don’t have any desire to convince you that you are wrong. I only want you to know that in the 40+ years I’ve been involved with Circuses, I’ve seen none of what you describe. I have seen patrons who attend the circus treat their children abhorrently – I’ve seen way more of that.

      Please stop listening to the extremest organizations who have been proven to be liars and adjudicated as Racketeers and Perjurers. They want your money and don’t help animals. Volunteer your time at an animal shelter or a zoo. Do some good for the world and for the animals.

  2. The bottom line is no animal belongs in a ANY circus being tortured to perform ridiculous, unnatural circus acts and suffer a lifetime of abuse and misery for a few minutes of so called ‘entertainment’ to an uneducated and ignorant of the facts, audience.

    The majority of decent human beings would not support any animal circus knowing the abuse and cruelty that goes on out of the public eye to break these animals and force them to perform out of fear of more horrific abuse, that circus people like to call ‘training’. Also, how are not fed or allowed water for extended periods of time before the show to prevent the animal from urinating or defecating on the stage. The confinement of circus animals in tight quarters in non temperature controlled travel trailers for extended periods of time in extreme temperatures without food or water.

    Any person that has an ability for critical thought processes can understand animals aren’t doing these circus acts because they want to or are treated well to do them. The evidence is there in endless supply of the abuse of every animal by circus trainers both in documented cases and investigation videos.

    Cirque de Soleil provides a truly spell binding, fascinating show of amazing feats and not one single animal is beaten or used in their WORLD CLASS PERFORMANCES. These are the types of shows we welcome with open arms here in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and throughout Canada.

    • Very well said. I bet a great many Sault residents and animal lovers would excitedly welcome a world class act like Cirque de Soleil…I hope they do come to our town and show the locals that you can still have a fantastic, wonderful experience with your kids and loved ones at a circus without profiting from the torture of animals. I can’t think of a better teaching moment for our children than to show them by example that animals were not put on this earth to perform tricks at the expense of their safety and wellbeing. If children really saw and understood the cruelty these animals are subjected to on a daily basis, behind closed doors, I believe you would have not only a lot of tears but also a lot of empty seats. Animal circuses can say what they want but the undercover cameras always prove otherwise. Free these animals to loving homes and sanctuaries…they do not deserve and did not ask for this torturous life. These circuses have lost their credibility. Have a heart for the animals, people, and please do not support these villains in disguise.

      • Since the show that is coming to Sault has only 2 horses and one dog, I doubt the residents and animal lovers will really be upset. Let’s ask the farmers and horse enthusiasts in your area.

    Uniondale, New York, Sunday 5/21/17 5pm-7pm
    Circus animals do not willingly stand on their heads, jump through rings of fire, or ride bicycles. They don’t perform these tricks because they want to and they don’t do any of these meaningless acts in their natural habitat. The ONLY reason circus animals perform is because they are scared of what will happen to them if they don’t. 

    The circus would like you to think that these intelligent and sentient creatures perform because they are positively reinforced with food, praise etc. There is no such thing as positive reinforcement for animals in the circus – only varying levels of punishment, neglect, and deprivation. These animals have limited access to food and water as to will them to perform, as well as to prevent untimely defecation and urination while they are on stage or in public view.

    After 146 years, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, owned by Feld Entertainment, has announced they are closing down.

    For decades, LCA has been in the forefront of undercover investigations and nonstop protests that garnered international attention exposing the severe animal cruelty that Ringling tried so desperately to hide.

    Ringling’s CEO, Kenneth Feld, sent one of his own investigators, Steve Kendall, to spy on LCA President & Founder Chris DeRose. That move backfired as the investigator ended up “flipping” and worked with LCA after realizing the cruelty involved in Ringling’s training tactics.

    “Anyone that gets in Kenneth Feld’s way, he investigated. Chris DeRose was a threat, one of the biggest. Kenneth singled out individuals that targeted the shows and looked for other ways to combat them, trying to shut down those people and organizations (LCA, PETA) economically,” states Mr. Kendall.

    Steve Kendall was hired by Feld and worked for him for 8 years gathering information about leaders of the animal rights movement, but ended up helping LCA by supplying intel against Ringling.

    LCA’s undercover investigator exposed some of the most egregious acts by trainers of circus elephants in the 15 years he worked for LCA, at serious risk to his own life.

    It has been widely documented that Feld Entertainment employed unscrupulous tactics to obtain and train its performing animals:

    Stealing infants from their mothers. An estimated 50 percent of the Asian elephants owned by Ringling were captured and torn from their families in the wild
    Using bullhooks, ropes and electric prods to forcibly train animals to perform unnatural, ridiculous tricks out of fear and domination
    Failing miserably to meet even minimal federal standards of care for the animals
    Entrapping animals for up to 11 months on the road in cramped, filthy boxcars and trailers

    Succumbing to the nonstop outcry against the use of elephants in the circus, Ringling finally ended its elephant act in May of 2016. LCA, along with dedicated supporters and activists, kept up the fight, demanding an end to the use of all the animals. Because of actions like LCA’s, ticket sales dropped dramatically.

    An LCA investigator went undercover inside the Carson & Barnes Circus, where he documented extreme animal abuse, including elephants being beaten with baseball bats, pitchforks, and other objects; shocked with electric prods; and hit on the head and across the face. LCA worked with local media to expose this cruelty and filed a complaint with the United States Department of Agriculture.

    Here’s the link to the rest of this story and a very disturbing video:

  4. Let me remind the readers and the public that a circus can change it’s name but a record of cruelty exists if one chooses to look for it, and you Leigh Ketchum knows nothing about my knowledge, education or personal experience with animals in or out of the circus!

    Unlike yourself Leigh Ketchum and Michael Riley, I have no financial interest off the backs of animals forced to perform in circuses in order for you to collect a paycheck.

    Animal circuses are barbaric and should never of happened in the first place. Their days are numbered here in Sault Ste. Marie and in Canada and elsewhere in more and more progressive cities with an intelligent, educated and compassionate populace that refuses to turn a blind eye to what goes on out of site of the public eye to force animals to unnaturally perform and be held captive to a life of cruelty in circuses.

    Yes, I encourage EVERYONE TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES about what life is really like for EVERY CIRCUS ANIMAL and exactly HOW TRAINERS use force, fear, starvation, torture and neglect as a method of training animals to perform unnatural circus acts as well as how and where circus animals are kept and transported.

    No animal belongs or deserves to be forced to perform ridiculous tricks for ignorant and/or heartless humans beings in the name of so called ‘entertainment” and be forced to live in non temperature controlled trailers and cages for the rest of the time when they are not performing. A lifetime of misery for them for a few minutes of so called ‘entertainment’ for an unwitting circus audience needs to be exposed for what it is: unnecessary, inhumane, heartless and cruel, with no place in today’s world.

    The long list of RECORDED and DOCUMENTED abuse of circus animals is ENDLESS. Any intelligent human being with an ounce of compassion can understand that by it’s very nature the circus is a cruel and miserable place for any animal.

    Here is another tidbit on Circus Spectacular for the readers:

    By Venus Zarris
    On April 6, 2012, the George Carden Circus Spectacular sets up its three rings of abuse at the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates. Circus Spectacular features elephants subjected to such terrible conditions and treatment that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited them on several occasions. The PETA fact sheet on George Carden Circus International ( reports cited abuse from the USDA starting in 1991 and as recently as last year. It is clear and common knowledge that animals traveling with circuses are abused to make them “perform” and live an unnatural life of mistreatment, neglect and confinement.

    I encourage every human being to use their mind to research and educate themselves and THINK AND FEEL AND ACT to DO WHAT IS RIGHT and not enforce or condone cruelty to any animal by supporting any animal circus as they need to become a thing of the past with their dark history and an audience they desperately try to keep in the dark.

    Feel free Leigh Ketchum and Michael Riley to don a costume yourself, get stung with a whip or electrode, walk on your hands, jump through hoops of fire and live in an empty, dirty, non temperature controlled trailer in extreme heat without food or water for extended hours on end in a cage for 11 months of the year and I’ll gladly buy popcorn and a ticket to watch and laugh at your performance.

  5. “While the super Circus Super Circus Spectacular supports all well run and regulated circuses with exotic and/or domestic animals,” This statement says it all…..I don’t care how ‘well run’ a circus is, any circus with exotic animals is a cruel one. How do you think they get tigers to jump through hoops of fire? Tiger are terrified of fire. The only reason they do it is because the they fear more about what will happen to them if they don’t,, elephants should NEVER be used in circuses. The stress they endure while performing stupid tricks is awful. No elephant in the wild would ever sit on it’s hind legs on a stool or do the other things that are forced on them in circuses. It takes HARD training to make these animals obey because everything they do is against their instincts. Not to mention the traveling chained in dark transport vehicles without ever being free to roam. Circuses are no place for ANY animal. Please do not support them.

    • Karen, i won’t try to change your mind about the use of exotic animals in the circus. But I would ask that you make the decision based on what is true – not on what you’ve been told by others. I almost embarrassed to admit it, but the Circus has lied about the Tiger VS Fire thing. They are not actually afraid of fire. But telling the audience that was a way of making things appear more dramatic. Tigers jump through hoops for one reason. To get to the other side. Because that’s where the food is. Again, I’m not trying to change your mind. I am asking you to find a better reason for your decision.
      Elephants are quite agile and perfectly capable of sitting up – they do that all the time. Like most animals, they are able to stand on their hind legs, stand on their front legs – they can practically do a headstand when they set their minds to it.
      Maybe your experience with Tigers and Elephants has been different than mine – perhaps even more extensive. Or maybe your education and knowledge of animal behavior, biology and animal care goes beyond my experience. The only people who practice anything that might be seen as “Hard” training (I think you mean more like “heavy handed”) are people who are not good trainers. And, just like in every other industry, people who are terrible at their jobs become unemployed and have to move on to another career.
      So, let’s keep it all real and factual. You don’t approve of exotic animals in the circus. You are most certainly entitled to your opinion. But, please, when you, go before the city council, get the facts straight – don’t just repeat the nonsense you’ve read in the latest PETA brochure.

  6. Good for you Leigh Ketchum. I’m glad you are ethical and had fun with your show animals. Can you vouch for the Super Spectacular Circus coming to our town??? How do you know the animals only perform for 10 minutes? Did you have gas powered loud motorbikes as part of your performances too? If you are not aware of the specifics here. it is a mute point how you treated your animals. You are just muddying the waters more.
    Sorry, but I’m still NAUSEOUS over the schedule! Also appalled the way the online schedule page is manipulated to look like a ‘real’ month long calendar, with empty boxes between show dates that appear to look like days off in the month. Looking closer you will note the dates are all in a row, it is misleading at best. And I would further say it is misleading by design.

    I’m not a PETA bleeding-heart, I just have common sense. Guess what? Circus’s are “an evil and archaic tradition that must be destroyed” Even the biggest show on earth, Ringling Brothers- called it quits this year after 146 years!! (Thank God!)

    Again, I encourage anyone to have a look at the sched and decide for themselves if this is fair and ethical, and worth a ticket, or shady as all hell:

  7. To Sault Online and readers,

    I am writing in hopes that some perspective may be brought to the discussion at hand: animals as part of live entertainment. Let me begin by stating that there is a disturbing trend in media of printing what some would say is ‘expert testimony’ from those who are by no means in any position to be called an expert. I’ll applaud anyone who has an opinion. But I will remind you that your opinion should be based on some sort of experience or facts.

    My background. I am currently the President of the Showfolks Of Sarasota. I have spent the better part of the past 40+ years actively involved in the Circus industry. Most of that time has been spent on tour with shows throughout the United States. Let me make this very clear to all: I know these people. I have lived with them. I have worked with them. I know how they treat their animals. I know how they treat their children. I know exactly what kind of people they are.

    To address the writers questions about travel and another’s despair over showtimes and frequency. For every inch that I have travelled with the Circus, my dogs have been by my side. They have never been caged. They have always lived in my RV. They sleep on my bed. We have gone for swims in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Of Mexico. We have been for long walks in parks and for care-free runs in countless fields and Fairgrounds. When we travel, they are in the vehicle with me. Other’s have specialized trailers for travel – I did not. When I had animals that performed, they always did so with glee and willingly. As far as animals being confined for travel – being in a vehicle of any sort, train, plane or automobile is by definition confinement. So, Erin, my ‘doggo’s’ have always been with me and have never indicated unhappiness or a desire to stop traveling.

    To Linda who is “nauseous” from looking at this show’s schedule. Seriously? An animal (or a human) works for a total of 10 minutes in any given performance. 3 performances = 30 minutes. Shows are typically 90 minutes long. A three show day means we are obligated to 4.5 hours. Do you work more hours than that? If you have a job, I’m sure you do. Life with the Circus is not the terrible thing that is being portrayed here.

    Unfortunately, so-called animal rights organizations have served up decades of propaganda and systematically indoctrinated a couple of generations of children into their ideology. And this is what makes them so dangerous. Teaching children that ideology is more important than facts is destructive and abusive. Representing yourself as something of an expert, when you have no frame of reference other than the propaganda put out by one of the worlds largest fund raising organizations is wrong.

    Katherine G. MacRae has the following qualifications listed on her bio:

    President of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce 2008-2009
ATHENA Award Recipient 2008
    Success Strategies Writer
    Graduate of the Coachville Graduate School of Coaching
    Former Board Member of The Sault Ste. Marie Airport Development Corporation (7 years)
    Former Chair of The Multi Modal Transportation Committee in Sault Ste. Marie (3 years)
    Leadership Development Trainer, Program Developer and Corporate Coach & Trainer
    Trainer/Facilitator of the Manufacturing Leadership Certificate Program delivered by Sault College
    Graduate of Business Management & Marketing, Columbia College, Calgary, Alberta
    Former Licenced (sp) Aircraft Maintenance Engineer

    Katherine G. MacRae has not spent a microsecond at a desk in a classroom learning about biology, animal behavior or anything else that would qualify her to dictate to you or I how animals should be treated. Her only frame of reference is videos and pamphlets handed out by organizations who seek to raise funds in the name of “Animal Rights”. In reality, these organizations spend less than 1% of the money they raise to benefit animals. The largest of them simply euthanizes the animals that are brought to their shelters. The other 2nd largest keeps tens of millions of dollars in off-shore accounts to benefit their executives.

    Ideology in the absence of fact is a very dangerous and destructive force in our modern day world. We now have terms like “Fake News” and “Alternative Facts” because of this. The Animal Rights movement is yet another of these. Their sole purpose is to raise money. They have never spent a nickel or taken 1 minute to make the life of an animal any better. They’ve achieved two goals: Raising hundreds of millions of dollars and convincing children that the Circus is an evil and archaic tradition that must be destroyed.

    Bri, you’ve got it right. Listen to people’s opinion. Do the research and make an informed conclusion. Never take on an ideology that is void of facts. And never get sucked into one of these fund raising scams. Be more vigilant and educate yourself before you hand money over to a self-proclaimed do-gooder.

    Leigh Ketchum
, President
    The Showfolks Of Sarasota
Sarasota, Florida

  8. OMG! Hold Up!! It pays to educate yourself…
    I just checked out their website and these animals have multiple performances every day for 30 straight days!! ??
    2 X performances every day!!
    3 X performance every Saturday!!
    3 X performance every Sunday!! That’s 6 shows every weekend!?? Each day in a different city!! When the hell do they travel??? omg. I actually feel nauseous looking at this grueling schedule and the outrageous performance demands put on these poor animals.
    Decide for yourself:
    This is not (I hope by anyone’s standards) an acceptable ‘work’ schedule. I won’t support this!
    Please commence with changing our bylaw ASAP.

    • Linda, of all the people in this discussion you absolutely take the cake as the biggest glitter colossal idiot in the room. OMG! “Hold Up! It pays to educate yourself…… ” How about you follow your own advice and learn to read a calendar and tell time.

  9. Hmmmm. So you are telling me the dogs aren’t in cages sir?
    Highly doubtful that touring around all over is a great life for these (or any) animals. Especially when it is purely for profit. Are they flown to locations first-class?
    And to your other point, as I’m sure you are well aware, there are many other videos out there closer to home.
    Take this for example:
    Owner Calls Pony-Riding Baboon A ‘C**ksucker’ On Live TV
    What is most disturbing, is this ‘trainer’ couldn’t even contain his disdain on *LIVE TV* when his circus animal didn’t behave Needless to say, he’s out of business now. As should all activities where animals are exploited for profit. Do you think your doggo would be happy in a traveling circus!? Go ahead, ask your doggo! Oh right, he can’t consent.
    Mr. Riley might perhaps consider my video example unfair as well because it refers to a Zoo, but I would argue that at least there is NO stressful travel involved as there is with your ‘Super Circus Spectacular’! (Really tho? People sat at a meeting and that was the name decided on?) And do motorbikes/animals/creepy ringleader (as seen on the poster) even qualify as a circus? You had to throw some gas fumes into the mix for extra ‘super’ excitement?
    C’mon Saulites, don’t support this type of exploitation of innocent animals! Instead… take your kids to Mockingbird Hill if you want an outing, pet some animals. Farmer Bob has a dog, I’m sure he can do a trick or two ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  10. To Bri;

    Don’t kid yourself. No animal is well treated in ANY circus!…..This is what the circus and its promoters WANT you to believe.

    Just spend a few minutes doing some research and educate yourself. If you have a heart and any compassion at all for animals you will quickly learn the the inherent and rampant abuse of animals that exists in ALL animal circuses.

    No animal belongs in a circus and it’s time Sault Ste. Marie closes the door tightly from this that wish to profit off the backs and abuse of animals.

  11. Don’t kid yourself. No animal is well treated in ANY circus!…..This is what the circus and its promoters WANT you to believe.

    Just spend a few minutes doing some research and educate yourself. If you have a heart and any compassion at all for animals you will quickly learn the the inherent and rampant abuse of animals that exists in ALL animal circuses.

    No animal belongs in a circus and it’s time Sault Ste. Marie closes the door tightly from this that wish to profit off the backs and abuse of animals.

Comments are closed.