Animal Defenders International

 

Animal Defenders International

Bans in Lima and draft national legislation tabled

Posted: 6 May 2008

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The campaign in Peru has been spearheaded by ADI sudamérica Campaigns Coordinator Juan Pablo Olmos and Jenny Mishty of Acción Por Derechos de los Animales (APDA), and now has the backing of the Peruvian animal protection groups Animazul, Grupo Caridad, Quimiranka, Animanaturalis and Unidos por los Animales UPA.

Extensive television coverage resulted, including: America Television, Pan-American Television, ATV, Channel 2 and Peru TV, accompanied by features in the major newspapers and magazines, including El Comercio, La República, Peru 21 and El Trome. During the week of our launch, Kiara, a nine-month-old lioness, escaped from an itinerant circus in an urban area of Lima. This drew attention to the risks we had cited in our report and DVD, when circuses travel with these animals in temporary cages. Suddenly, our point became starkly real, with a lioness loose in the streets in which children play. The Ecological Police for INRENA (the National Institute of Natural Resources) captured Kiara and placed her in a zoo, where it was discovered that – even at less than a year old – this poor lioness bore scars, was malnourished, and her claws had been removed from her front paws. ADI has offered to take the lioness, rather than have her returned to the circus. There was a brief legal tug of war, but sadly, INRENA could not find a legal avenue to permanently seize Kiara. Together with local organisations, a picket in front of the INRENA called for Kiara to be sent to a sanctuary, but she was returned to the circus. Unless we can secure the prohibition of animal circuses in Peru, a lifetime of deprivation and misery awaits her at the hands of those who have already removed her claws. A sad fate for the lioness who almost got away.

In July 2007, two very old lions were delivered to INRENA by the Circo Africa de Fieras in Lima, Peru, undernourished and in extremely poor health. A sad scene, graphically highlighting the plight of circus animals. The animals were euthanised after an examination revealed anaemia, emaciation, dermatitis, inflamed kidneys and pancreas, and decaying teeth. INRENA has announced that it plans to seize seven tigers from the same circus for irregularities in documentation. If this happens, ADI will offer to take the animals.

The surge in public awareness following the campaign has seen four municipalities of Lima – San Miguel, Villa El Salvador, Commas and El Agustino – ban animal circuses at the height of the capital’s circus season. In August the Municipal Council of Magdalena del Mar unanimously approved an Ordinance that prohibits circuses with animals with penalties of a $550 fine and closure of the circus.
National legislation to prohibit the use of animals in circuses is being promoted by Congressman Jorge Urquizo, a member of the Partido Nacionalista of Peru. We expect this to be debated in Congress in the coming months. The fate of poor Kiara is a reminder that legislation is the real solution to the abuse of these animals.

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