Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Stop Circus Suffering South America report

Posted: 26 March 2007. Updated: 16 May 2012


The use of animals in circuses in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Perϊ.

Summary of findings

The unavoidable conclusion drawn from the data collected is that there is a very high level of suffering amongst animals in travelling circuses sin the region. This is cruelty in the name of entertainment.

Animals living in inadequate, deprived and unnatural conditions.
Severe confinement is a consistent finding in travelling animal circuses all over the world. In Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, we found that this was compounded by inappropriate husbandry for the species including lack of space to exercise properly or perform natural behaviours and for many, a lack of social interaction with their own species. Inadequate provision of food and water. Without doubt animals are suffering in the circuses examined due to the way they are being cared for.

Violence used to control animals, video filmed by ADI includes for example:

  • Chimpanzee punched and beaten with chain (Circus Africa de Fieras – Colombia)
  • Llama repeatedly whipped (Circus Africa de Fieras – Colombia)
  • Chimpanzee beaten (Circus Hermanos Gasca – Colombia)
  • Stones thrown at a monkey (Circus Hermanos Gasca – Colombia)
  • Donkey kicked and hit (Circo Barney & Circo Barney y sus Amigos (two circuses combined) – Ecuador)
  • Dogs yelping as they were repeatedly beaten during training (Circo Barney – Ecuador)

A range of animals displaying disturbed, repetitive behaviour, this included swaying, pacing, weaving, and head bobbing, and was seen in bears, chimpanzees, elephants, baboons, tigers, lions, and horses

When circuses moved town animals were kept in their trailers for especially long periods – a chimpanzee kept in a small cage for 40 hours and two elephants shut in their transporter for 39 hours.

Poor standards of public safety – inadequate caging, animal escapes, including lions, and animals subject to direct contact and abuse from the public.

The findings reveal suffering amongst all species observed with travelling circuses in the region – and for the only purpose of amusing and entertaining people. It is time that the abuse stopped.


Animals with South American circuses

The following examples show the diversity of species currently touring South American with travelling circuses. It should be noted that there is considerable movement of circuses, and individual animals across borders, so any animals monitored in the countries below are likely to, sooner or later, appear in the neighbouring countries.

Bolivia: Animals observed in just two circuses – Circo Abuhadba and Bochincheros Circos (December 2005)
Exotic / Wild Animals
Brown Bears 3
Mandrill 1
Capuchin Monkey 3
Monkey 1
Lioness/Lions 5
Spider Monkey 4
Total = 17

Domestic Animals
Dogs 8
Horses 3
Donkeys 1
Llama 2
Total = 14

Colombia: Animals observed in four circuses – Circo de Mexico, Circus Africa de Fieras (also known as Circo Rolex), Circo Hermanos Gasca, Circo de las Estrellas
Exotic / Wild Animals
Chimpanzees 2
Sea lions 2
Elephant 3
Spider monkey 1
Giraffe 1
Tigers (Bengal) 12
Llamas 4
Tigers White 8
Mandrill 4
Tiger (Siberian) 1
Rhesus monkey 3
Total = 41

Domestic Animals
Cats 5
Goats 1
Dogs 73
Horses 12
Donkeys 1
Ponies 16
Total = 108

Chile: Animals observed in seven circuses – Koenig Circus, Frankfort Circus, Los Tachuelas Circus, Royal Dumbar Circus, Hnos Kings Circus, Universal Circus, Flintstones Circus
Exotic / Wild Animals
Elephant 1
Brown Bears 2
Tigers 7
Ligers 1
Lion/esses 16
Capuchins 10
Baboons 12
Total = 49

Domestic Animals
Ponies/Horses 14
Goats 2
Llamas 4
Dogs 7
Hens 3
Total = 30

Peru: Animals observed in seven circuses – Circo Zafari Kids, Africa de Fieras / Circo Africa (tours under either name), Circus Las Galaxias, Circo Do Brasil, Circo Moscow / Circo Nikita (tours under either name), Circo Chola Jacinta, Circo Russell.
Exotic / Wild Animals
Brown Bear 3
Ocelot 1
Capuchin Monkey 1
Parrot 1
Lioness/Lions 19
Spider Monkey 3
Ostrich 3
Tiger 2
Total = 33

Domestic Animals
Dogs 13
Horses 3
Total = 16

Read our report in Spanish

  • Click here to read the report in Spanish
  • Click here for the PDF of the Spanish report

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