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Animal Defenders International

Colombia moves closer to animal circus ban

Posted: 24 May 2012. Updated: 24 May 2012

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House of Representatives unanimously approves Bill that will end suffering of animals in circuses

ADI Colombia and Rep. Augusto Posada of the Colombian Congress have announced that the Bill to end the suffering of animals in travelling circuses has passed successfully through the House of Representatives.

Bill 52/2011 has cross party support, with sixteen members of different political parties joined as cosponsors. The Bill prohibits the use of exotic, wild and domestic animals in travelling circuses and provides for penalties for violations.

Tabled in August 2011 by Rep. Posada, the Bill has passed the required two debates, with a unanimous final vote in the House. It now moves on to the Senate.

ADIís campaign to end the use of animals in circuses in Colombia began in 2007 following the release of an undercover investigation of animal circuses by ADI field officers. The investigation revealed a staggering level of violence and animal abuse. One particularly brutal incident involved a female chimpanzee named Karla, who was punched in the face and whipped with a chain by her trainer.

In circus after circus, ADI uncovered traumatised animals living in inadequate, barren and unnatural conditions, with little space to exercise and display natural behaviours. Animals were also kept together with incompatible species, resulting in a lack of social interaction.

Jan Creamer, ADI Chief Executive said: "We congratulate the Colombian House of Representatives on their impressive support for Bill No. 52/2011 that, when passed, will end the suffering of animals in circuses. Colombia is now at the forefront of international animal protection measures and other countries will follow."

Rep. Posada, "We want to encourage the Senate to allow this initiative to become law and Colombia to tell the world that our country defends animals. We cannot allow entertainment to violate the rights of animals and the welfare of the environment".

In the UK, despite overwhelming public support for a ban (94.5% Defra consultation), as well as political support (63% of MPs favour a ban), there is still no word from the Government on when they will introduce a ban. Despite public opposition, the Coalition Government is pressing ahead with an unpopular and unwanted, expensive licensing and inspection regime, which they claim, will be temporary. The Governmentís plans have been strongly opposed by ADI and other animal welfare organisations, together with thousands of members of the public.


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