Founded in 1990 as the animal welfare, conservation, and youth wing of the National Anti-Vivisection Society, Animal Defenders International has now grown into a major international campaigning group in its own right, lobbying on issues such as animals in circuses; worldwide traffic in endangered species; vegetarian/vegan diet; factory farming; and pollution. ADI is now an adult as well as youth group, and involves itself in international animal rescues as well as educational work on animal welfare, conservation and the environment.
Our Field Officers work undercover to obtain evidence, film, and photographs for presentation to parliament and media. In 1999, evidence of cruelty collected by ADI led to the successful prosecutions of Mary Chipperfield, her husband Roger Cawley and their elephant keeper Steve Gills.
ADI has rescued animals all over the world in often the most dramatic circumstances. Our rescues have included saving Toto a chimpanzee from a circus in Chile and taking home to Africa; closing a circus that was a front for animal trafficking in Mozambique and saving all the animals (three tigers, six lions, three horses, a python and five dogs); saving dogs, monkeys, rats, mice and chickens from laboratories in the UK, Sweden and Chile; saving monkeys from the illegal pet trade in Colombia and returning them to the wild; saving lions and tigers from a circus in Portugal; and securing freedom for animals through our investigations and prosecutions including Anne the elephant from Bobby Roberts Circus and Trudy the chimpanzee from Mary Chipperfield Promotions.
Most dramatic of all after ADI secured the ban on animal circuses in Bolivia, ADI returned to track down every circus defying the law and save every animal. In a stunning operation eight animal circuses were closed with ADI saving horses, monkeys, a deer, a coati, and 29 lions. The 29 lions were flown to ADI funded sanctuary facilities in the USA where we continue to fund their care. The historic rescue is the subject of the feature length documentary Lion Ark.
Our reports and videos have been used as far afield as Singapore and Colombia to secure animal protection measures. We provide resources to schools to enable children to examine animal and environmental issues.
ADI supporters include Sir Paul McCartney, Kim Basinger, Belinda Carlisle, Wendy Turner Webster, Michaela Strachan, Benjamin Zephaniah, Jenny Seagrove, Mark Radcliffe, Brian Blessed and Twiggy.