Colombia bans wild animals in circuses

Posted on Jun 20, 2013 in News | 0 comments

© Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

© Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Colombia’s Congress passed a bill that will protect wild animals from being used in circuses after a six-year campaign by Animal Defenders International (ADI), urging the government to do so on the grounds of animal cruelty and suffering. As part of their global initiative – Stop Circus Suffering – ADI led their campaign using information found in undercover investigations, scientific reviews, and public debates.

Bill 244, 2012 states that circuses will have two years to abide by the new legislation which prohibits all wild animals in circuses. Domestic species were not included.

“We congratulate the Colombian Congress for approving this Bill and are delighted that Colombia has shown that animals should not suffer for our entertainment… ADI stands ready to assist with rescue and relocation of the animals, whenever the Government of Colombia requires assistance. After this momentous decision, it is important that these animals are allowed to live out their days, free from the circus and the suffering they have endured.” said ADI’s Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, regarding the Colombia Circus Animals Bill.

“This is good news for the country because with the prohibition of the use of animals in circuses we are taking a significant step in the conservation of wildlife, the awareness to preserve nature and thus demonstrate that, as humans, we can respect the status and dignity of other species,” said House Representative Augusto Posado, author of the Colombia Circus Animals Bill. “Those who still have animal shows will have two years to evolve and allow the return of these creatures to a suitable habitat and to create new forms of entertainment without the presence of animals.”

The ADI campaign has not only influenced the circus animal bans in Colombia, but in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay as well. The campaign in Colombia was first launched in 2007 after investigators went undercover for two years to document the conditions of circus animals.

“Our warmest thanks and congratulations go to more than 50 national animal protection organisations who helped with this bill and of course the individuals, celebrities, academics, officials, congressmen, artists, and non-animal circuses who joined with us to stop animal suffering in circuses in Colombia,” said ADI campaigns coordinator for Latin America, Eduardo Peña. “Now circuses have the opportunity to strengthen human talent, support the Colombian Government’s ethical position, and evolve shows that respects human values and protect nature.” ■