Wearing heavy chains and sitting on a circus-style pedestal, hit girl group Little Mix star in a new PETA ad campaign shot by photographer Trevor Leighton that proclaims, “Shackled, Beaten and Depressed. Get Wild Animals Out of the Circus!”

Little Mix - Get Wild Animals Out of the Circus
Little Mix - Get Wild Animals Out of the Circus

The X Factor winners join all major animal-protection organisations, many veterinary bodies and the vast majority of the British public in demanding an end to the suffering of wild animals in circuses.

“We were shocked to learn that wild animals are still suffering in circuses. Animals don’t jump through rings of fire for fun – they do so out of fear, and it’s time to ban this so-called form of entertainment once and for all” said Little Mix superstar Leigh-Anne Pinnock on behalf of the group. “There’s no reason why animals should still be suffering in circuses, and we hope that by posing for this ad, we’ll be doing our bit to help ban the use of wild animals in circuses. We hope, too, that our fans will join us in supporting PETA’s campaign to end this cruelty.”

“The British people have spoken – and the vast majority want a ban on forcing elephants, lions and other animals to perform in circuses”, says PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi. “PETA and Little Mix are calling on the new government to listen to the will of the people and allow only circuses that feature willing human performers.”

As exposed by PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – during circus training, baby elephants are stretched out, slammed to the ground, gouged with bullhooks (weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp steel hook on one end) and shocked with electric prods. When tigers and elephants aren’t on stage, they’re kept caged or chained for up to 23 hours a day.

Little Mix join a long list of musicians and other celebrities – including Simon Cowell, Pink, Tom Hardy, Rylan Clark, Alexandra Burke and many others – who’ve teamed up with PETA to promote kindness to animals.

Prime Minister David Cameron promised to ban wild-animal circuses by January 2015 but failed to bring any legislation to Parliament during the last government, leaving countless animals to suffer.

To join the campaign urging the prime minister to bring forward legislation banning this archaic form of “entertainment”, click here.

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