Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI Investigation on the Colombian Animal Circus Industry Results in Rescue of Chimpanzees

Posted: 20 August 2010. Updated: 20 August 2010

Colombian Authorities Sanction Infamous Animal Circus

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 17, 2010 - The Colombian Ministry of Environment has confirmed a resolution produced earlier this year to sanction Martin Fuentes Gasca, owner of Circo Gasca, and Pedro Alfonso Villaraga, representative of the company PROTEQUEM, for the breach of environmental legislation. These sanctions result from an investigation launched by the Ministry based on evidence submitted by Animal Defenders International (ADI).

ADIís investigation on the use of animals in Colombian circuses revealed staggering levels of violence and abuse involving a female chimpanzee named Karla, who was punched in the face and beaten with a chain by her trainer and a male chimpanzee named Panchito who was also beaten by his trainer. ADIís footage showed the frightened animals screaming throughout the attacks. The investigation also showed the animals living in inadequate, deprived and unnatural conditions. The stress of severe confinement, a consistent factor with travelling animal circuses all over the world, is shown to be compounded by the lack of space to exercise or exhibit natural behavior as well as a lack of social interaction with their own species.

After ADIís exposť, the chimps Karla and Panchito were quickly donated by the circuses to zoos. However, the Ministry confirmed that the donations of these chimps to Colombian zoos did not follow the legal procedures established by Decree 1608 of 1978, which regulates environmental issues in the country. Likewise, the Ministry found that the circus and PROTEQUEM did not have the animals branded properly, which is also a violation of environmental legislation. As a result, the Ministry imposed a fine upon PROTEQUEM and the Gasca Circus of COP$19m (nearly £6500).

In 2009, ADI headed an investigation in Bolivia that lead to that countryís ban of the use of animals in circuses. The group subsequently rescued four lions, which were rehomed to the PAWS sanctuary in San Andreas, California. As a part of ADIís ongoing campaign to end the suffering of animals in circuses, legislation is currently being discussed in Colombia, Peru and Brazil.

With new offices in Los Angeles, ADI has expanded its efforts to end circus animal suffering through a grassroots campaign of public education and leafleting. In its continued communication with the Colombian government, ADI hopes to persuade lawmakers to hand the chimps over so that they may be brought to safety and possibly rehomed in the U.S.

ADIís Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, said: ďWe are pleased that ADIís investigation on the Colombian Circus industry prompted the Colombian Ministry of Environment to take decisive legal action. This decision is not only fair but it also sets a strong precedent that shows that animal circuses are no longer outside the scope of the law. The images of Karla being punched and beaten and her sheer terror are haunting, and the decision of the Ministry is a step in the right direction to put an end to this abuse.Ē


About Animal Defenders International (ADI):

With offices in Los Angeles, London and BogotŠ, Animal Defenders International (ADI) campaigns to protect animals in entertainment; replacement of animals in experiments; worldwide traffic in endangered species; vegetarianism; factory farming; pollution and conservation. ADI also rescues animals in distress worldwide. ADI-gathered evidence has led to campaigns and legislative action all over the world to protect them.

ADIís Mission: To educate, create awareness, and promote the interest of humanity in the cause of justice, and the suppression of all forms of cruelty to animals wherever possible to alleviate suffering, and to conserve and protect animals and the environment.

Notes to the editors:

Animal Defenders International has offices in South America, Europe and the USA and works on international, national and local initiatives to end the suffering of animals.

Stop Circus Suffering is a global campaign from ADI. and

Find out more about the Stop Circus Suffering campaign in Colombia and South America.

Scientific evidence against animals in circuses.

Spokesperson interviews (English and Spanish) with Alexandra Cardenas, ADI Global Animals in Entertainment Campaigner, are available upon request.

Photos of the chimps Karla and Panchito are also available upon request.

For further information, please contact

U.S. Media Contact:

Ńgnes Huff, PhD or Anna Jerden
Ńgnes Huff Communications Group
Phone: 310-641-2525

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