Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Perfect Storm Sets Over UK

Posted: 14 September 2010. Updated: 14 September 2010

With the release of Tilin the Baboon from Bolivia

After years of undercover investigations, campaigning and lobbying of the Bolivian Government by Animal Defenders International (ADI), the leading animal welfare organisation that works globally for the protection of animals has managed to secure a ‘world first’ by persuading the Bolivian Government to implement a ban on both wild and domestic animals in circuses in Bolivia, after ADI uncovered systematic abuse and suffering of animals in circuses there.

Tilin, an 18 year old Hamadryras Baboon was passed to ADI along with 5 lions (who have already been rehomed in America) by a Bolivian circus as a direct result of the ban, and touched down at Heathrow Airport on Monday 13 September 2010.

Jan Creamer, CEO of Animal Defenders International said that Tilin’s arrival brought to a resounding crescendo a perfect storm of campaigning activity that led to his release.

“Tilin’s release and rehoming is the culmination of a targeted political and public awareness campaign by ADI, which included intensive lobbying, face to face meetings with politicians and the public, and press conferences,” Jan said.

“Despite his suffering, Tilin has a gentle, kind personality, is highly intelligent, and sensitive. He would normally live in the wild in the deserts of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Somalia in family groups and the ancient Egyptians referred to his kind as the ‘Sacred Baboon’.

“However, poor Tilin has certainly not led a sacred existence up until now, living alone chained up in solitary confinement in a Bolivian circus, where his only companions were the lions in the cage next to him.

“This remarkable creature will now live out the rest of his days very happy in his new enclosure at a Monkey Sanctuary in Berks – a far cry from the appalling, solitary life he led in a Bolivian circus.

“This is a truly historic day for circus animals and a huge victory for animal welfare. The undercover investigations, the scientific research and the hard work of our supporters in Bolivia has made a difference for animals that we hope will reach around the world,” Jan said.

“This is effectively a ‘world first’ as Bolivia was the first country to introduce a national ban on animal circuses in South America and the first worldwide to ban both domestic and wild animals in circuses.”

Animal Defenders International exposed the suffering of animals behind the scenes in circuses all over the world as part of their ‘Stop Circus Suffering’ Campaign, and showed how animals in Bolivian circuses were subject to cruel and brutal training methods.

The investigation also revealed animals living in inadequate, deprived and unnatural conditions, so the stress of severe confinement, a consistent factor with travelling animal circuses all over the world, was compounded by lack of space to exercise or to perform natural behaviours and lack of social interaction with their own species. There was also inadequate provision of food and water.

Tim Phillips, ADI’s Campaigns Director said that travelling circuses cannot provide facilities to adequately care for animals and inevitably the animals are kept in cramped, unnatural conditions.

“The way they are forced to live causes considerable suffering, and then they are beaten and abused to force them to perform,” said Tim.

“We applaud President Evo Morales for setting the highest standard for animal protection for South America. This is a strong and courageous piece of legislation and the rest of the world now needs to follow.

“We also salute the efforts of all the local organisations who along with ADI worked tirelessly to ensure that the bill became a law and this remarkable achievement now sees new legislation under consideration in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.”

Closer to home, Animal Defenders International remain frustrated with the lack of action by the UK Government regarding a ban on animals in circuses.

The organisation has presented extensive evidence to them in support of a ban and over the past four years, Defra has conducted consultations, expert committees, and public surveys, which have all consistently supported that animals suffer in travelling circuses, and that the majority of the public would like to see a ban enacted. And still they seem reluctant to act.

In addition, last year ADI released the shocking findings of an investigation of the Great British Circus, where their hidden camera revealed that in fact elephants spent most of their time in a small pen in a tent and every night the animals were chained by a front and a back leg – barely able to take one step back and forwards.

ADI undercover investigators also caught on film a staggering level of casual violence, where elephants were brutally hit in the face with a metal elephant hook, a broom and a pitchfork and the frightened animals backed away and cried out when they were hit, or hooked.

“Our exposé put wild animals in circuses back on the political agenda, prompting the then Defra minister, to order a formal public consultation on the issue,” Jan said.

“In March this year, Defra announced that as part of this consultation, 94.5% of the public backed a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. Shortly after this announcement, election commitments to pursue a ban were made by parliamentarians across the parties, including Nick Clegg, the now Deputy Prime Minister.

“A year on, and the UK public are more than ever behind a ban on wild animals in circuses, but it is in danger of slipping away due to political inaction.

“Now is the ideal time for them to follow Bolivia’s lead and put a stop, once and for all, and ban animal circuses in the UK.

“So we implore UK politicians to listen to and observe Tilin’s story very carefully, then do the right thing by the animals that continue to suffer at circuses around the UK by setting an example to Europe and the rest of the world by getting behind the ADI’s ‘Stop Circus Suffering’ campaign and ban the use of animals in circuses.”

A selection of photographs, broadcast quality archive footage featuring Tilin’s release and rescue and spokespeople are available to media.

Please contact: Phil Buckley, Media Relations Director, Animal Defenders International, 020 7630 3344, 07785 552548,


Animal Defenders International (ADI)
With offices in London and San Francisco, Animal Defenders International (ADI) is a major international campaigning group, lobbying to protect animals on issues such as animals in entertainment and their use in experiments; worldwide traffic in endangered species; vegetarianism; factory farming; pollution and conservation. ADI involves itself in international animal rescues as well as educational work on animals, conservation and environment. Founded in 1990, ADI has become a major force for animal protection and has succeeded through its undercover investigations in securing legal protection for animals. ADI opposes violence or intimidation whether directed at humans or other animals.

National measures to prohibit the use of wild animals, or selected species, in circuses have been adopted in: Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Malta, Slovakia, Sweden, Portugal, Taiwan, Singapore, Bolivia, Costa Rica, India and Israel. Similar laws are being discussed in: United Kingdom, Netherlands, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Norway, and Peru. Due to public concerns, local town and city bans are in place in the US, UK, Brazil and many other countries.

ADI’s education campaign has resulted in over 200 local authorities in the UK, banning the use of some or all animals in travelling circuses.
ADI is leading the campaign to end the suffering of animals in entertainment and currently has major campaigns running in Europe, South America, and now in the USA.

ADI has secured convictions for cruelty of circus personnel and rescued chimpanzees, lions, tigers, dogs, snakes, and horses from circuses.
ADI relies on the kind donations of individuals and organisations to carry out its important worldwide welfare work.
If you would like to sponsor Tilin and find out more about the invaluable work that ADI does please visit:

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