Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Colombia: Groups line up behind campaign, and everyone hears about Karla

Posted: 6 May 2008


ADI and the Mentes Verde Foundation (Foundation Green Minds) launched the SCS campaign with a series of public screenings of the DVD in different locations and with the backing of the Mayor of Bogota, universities, schools and animal protection groups such as Asociación Defensora de Animales y Ambiente (ADA), Protective Society of Animals of Colombia (SPAC), Foundation Friends of the Planet, Marco Verde, Paradise of the Pet, Defenzoores, Corporation Raya and F.A.U.N.A.

The media response was immediate and continued for months, thanks to committed campaigning by all. Coverage has included newscasters RCN, CityTv and News ONE; the series Travesia of channel 13 and Environmental Mission of Cablecentro, who have presented a special with tour video evidence from Colombia; and the newspapers El Tiempo, El Colombiano and El Mundo.

Tragic circus chimpanzee Karla, whom ADI Field Officers filmed being punched and beaten with a chain in Bogota, became the centre of attention, featuring in all the media.

Publicity has also been sustained by a series of carnivals organised by ADI and Mentes Verdes outside animal circuses in several cities – Bogota, Cali, Ibagué and Pereira.

The circus industry has fought back, threatening us and attempting legal action against ADI and Mentes Verdes. This included claims of violation of their right to work and damage to their “good name". However, the charges were declared inadmissible by the judge. This decision was appealed by the circus but the ruling was upheld.


A major circus family – the Gascas – claimed in the media that the Stop Circus Suffering sudamérica DVD only contained footage from the UK and Europe! We responded by producing an entire DVD of footage from inside Gasca circuses only and released it to the media. This drew even more media attention to Gasca, as violence to elephants, apes and big cats was shown. Lawyer Amador Riaño has been responsible for the ADI and Mentes Verdes legal strategy and continues in his efforts to rescue Karla and to fight off the threats by Colombian circuses – ensuring that this campaign has not been silenced by the bullies.

The plight of Karla has united local campaigners in protests, with calls for her to be handed over to ADI. Poor Karla has come to symbolise the suffering of all circus animals in Colombia.

Our team are working with the relevant Government Department to press for national legislation to prohibit the use of animals in circuses throughout Colombia. Meanwhile, Karla, Bobby and Chita wait in hope.

Help save Karla the chimpanzee

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