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Animal rights groups are upset at the Pope for inviting people to the circus

The Vatican announced Wednesday that Circo Medrano, an Italian circus group, would offer 2,100 free places for homeless people and refugees, courtesy of the Pope. But not everyone is applauding the gesture. Animal rights groups in Italy and the United States are condemning the move and calling on the Pope to rethink the plan, saying that "animals are not ours to use for entertainment."

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) appealed to the Pope to change his plans on the grounds that "animals are not ours to use for entertainment." "His Holiness' concern for the downtrodden must rightly extend to the wild animals who have been taken from their homelands and are enslaved, caged, chained and beaten so that they'll perform tricks that baffle and stress them," PETA said.

PETA named the Pope its 2015 Person of the Year. The organization says it was due to his choice of the name of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals, and because of his 2015 encyclical, Ladauto Si', in which he writes, "Every act of cruelty towards any creature is contrary to human dignity."

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