In Missoula, Animal rights groups and individuals are protesting cruelty to animals.
Protesters are rallying before and after each Shriners circus performance at the Adam’s Center.
They say traveling circus animals are treated poorly and are even abused during training.
Officials with the Jordan World Circus, the group that contracts Shriners Circus, tell us their animals are their number one priority.
We spoke with both sides of the controversy.
Kathleen Stahowski, founder of other nations toward animal rights, says animals in captivity cannot be cared for properly.
“Traveling circuses simply cannot meet the physical and emotional needs of these intelligent and sentient animals.”
Tess Emerson, ring master for Shriners Circus, says the animals are a part of their family, and they always put them first.
“All of our animals here are USDA regulated. So if there were something wrong, or something was going wrong our animals wouldn't be allowed to perform.”
Shriners Circus proceeds help thousands of children pay for hospital visits each year.
The protesters insist that they are not against circuses or charity, but they just don’t want to see animals put in danger for entertainment.