Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Colombia moves closer to circus ban

Posted: 24 May 2012. Updated: 4 July 2014

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

Bogota, Colombia: Animal Defenders International (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.

ADI’s 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 Government’s plans have been strongly opposed by ADI and other animal welfare organisations, together with thousands of members of the public.


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Notes for Editors:
Photos and video are available on request

Media contact:
Angie Greenaway, Animal Defenders International
Tel: 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

About Bill No. 52/2011
Text of the Bill can be viewed here

Author of the Bill: Augusto Posada

List of Representatives to the House co-authors: Hugo Velasquez (Liberal Party), Juan Valdez (Indigenous Social Alliance Party), Jimmy Sierra, (Liberal Party), Carlos Jimenez (Radical Change Party), Alfonso Prada (Green Party), Carlos Amaya (Green Party), Alfredo Bocanegra (Partido Conservative), Hernando Hernandez (Alternative Democratic Pole), Hernando Padaui (Radical Change Party), Germain Navas (Alternative Democratic Pole), Oscar Henao (Radical Change Party), Guillermo Rivera (Liberal Party), Juan Diego Gomez (Conservative) Jorge Rozo (Radical Change Party), Carlos Eduardo Leon Villadiego (Conservative) and Sandra Leon Villadiego (Social Party of National Unity).

The plight of Karla the chimpanzee
The tragic plight of Karla the chimpanzee with Circo Africa de Fieras symbolises the plight of animals suffering in the name of public entertainment. Travelling with the circus, she was kept isolated and alone from any of her kind and beaten by her trainer. During the attacks Karla screamed, fled and desperately tried to shield her face from the blows. In her forties, Karla would be considerably stronger than her tormentor, but like other circus animals, she has been beaten into submission. ADI initiated legal action against the circus and is still trying to secure Karla’s freedom; although she has been removed from the circus, her future is unclear.

National measures to restrict either all or wild animals in circuses, have been adopted in:
Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Slovakia, Sweden, Portugal, Taiwan, Singapore, Bolivia, Peru, Costa Rica, India and Israel. Similar laws are being discussed in the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Malta, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Norway.

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.


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