Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Shrine Circus comes to town amid protests and a proposed federal law to ban wild animals

Posted: 13 April 2012. Updated: 13 April 2012

Los Angeles, CA—The Al Malaikah Shriners are bringing Circus Gatti to Los Angeles with performances today through Sunday. Along with the clowns, trapeze artists and other human performers will come a menagerie and the growing controversy about the suffering of these wild animals from confinement, physical and social deprivation, long, arduous journeys, brutal control methods and physical violence.

Local animal advocates will be educating circus-goers outside every one of the seven Shrine Circus performances beginning today, April, 13 at 1:30pm at the Shrine Auditorium, 665 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) Campaigns Director Matt Rossell will be available for interview before the Saturday afternoon show from 1:00pm-2:00pm and will demonstrate how bullhooks (a heavy club-like device with a sharp point and hook) and electric prods are used to dominate, control and train animals for the circus.

Animal advocates are not the only ones raising questions about circus animal abuse; the issue has now gained the attention of Congress. Animal Defenders International alongside Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA), introduced federal legislation last November, the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 3359), which aims to protect wild animals by prohibiting them from being forced to perform in traveling circuses. The bill has bipartisan support, is gaining co-sponsors and awaits a hearing in the House Committee on Agriculture.

“Animal Defenders International applauds Congressman Jim Moran for introducing the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act, (H.R. 3359), which aims to end the worst abuses of captive wildlife by prohibiting exotic animals from traveling circuses,” said Matt Rossell, ADI’s Campaigns Director. “Keeping elephants in chains, confining wild animals like lions and tigers in small cages, and using physical violence to make them perform unnatural tricks for the sole purpose of human amusement is increasingly difficult to justify in our advanced society.”

It is a myth that wild animals are trained with kindness and rewards. Years of undercover investigations reveal that the training tools of the circus trade include bullhooks, (a heavy bar with a sharpened point and hook) stun guns and other electric prods, metal bars, whips, deprivation of food and water and intimidation. Large, potentially dangerous and often unwilling or distracted wild animals are routinely the subject of abuse by trainers who demand compliance using pain and punishment.



For more information please contact:
Matt Rossell, Animal Defenders International, 323-804-9920

Circus outreach events will start one hour prior to each of the Shrine Circus performance:
Friday, April 13, 1:30–3 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m.
Saturday, April 14, 9–10 a.m., 12:30–2 p.m. and 5:30–7 p.m.
Sunday, April 15, 9:30–11 a.m. and 1:30-3 p.m.

As the leader of the Break the Chain campaign, ADI works with animal rights and welfare organizations across the U.S. , and is currently working to gain grassroots support for the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 3359), which currently has 18 co-sponsors and is awaiting a hearing in the House Committee on Agriculture subcommittee of Livestock, Dairy and Poultry. ADI has conducted investigations of circuses all over the world and has produced comprehensive reports, including one in the U.S. called Science on Suffering which details and provides evidence of the inherent suffering of animals forced to travel and perform.

To find out more information on ADI’s Break the Chain campaign, visit

For more information about the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (H.R. 3359) visit

Animal Defenders International
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.

More information is available on ADI’s U.S. website:

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