Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Stop Circus Animal Suffering – Protestors Urge Audiences to Shun the Wild Animal Circus

Posted: 2 August 2013. Updated: 2 August 2013


August 1, 2013, BAKERSFIELD, CA – Animal Defenders International (ADI), is calling on the local community to stay away from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and avoid supporting an industry that involves cruelty and suffering to animals.

Studies of the use of wild animals in traveling circuses show that circuses cannot meet the physical or behavioral needs of wild animals. Animals are confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time shut in transporters. These animals are often seen behaving abnormally; rocking, swaying and pacing, all indicating that they are in distress and not coping with their environment. ADI’s video evidence has shown how these animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear and intimidation.

“Most people are compassionate and would never knowingly support the abuse of animals,” said Jan Creamer, ADI President. “But many are unaware of the hidden cruelty, for just a few minutes of entertainment. ADI’s new billboard campaign aims to lift the curtain and tell ordinary Americans the truth, Like many others, we believe they will walk away from these shows.”

ADI and Local ADI Representative Stephanie Esla will be running five billboards at various Bakersfield locations throughout the month of August, showing residents the abuse that circus animals suffer.

Stephanie Esla: “Thousands of Bakersfield residents will see this billboard, giving them greater insight into the terrible suffering of circus animals. When families find out about the routine abuses that go on behind the scenes they will be shocked and will not want to expose their children to this cruelty.”


Film and photographs of animals in circuses are available from ADI.
ADI Media Desk: 323-804-9920 e:

About 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 behind-the-scenes suffering in the industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals and educates the public.

Hundreds of towns and cities around the world, all over Europe, South America and Asia, have looked at the evidence and decided to end the use of animals in traveling circuses. Over 20 countries have introduced national legislation.

  • Traveling circuses cannot meet the physical, psychological or behavioral needs of wild animals, due to severe confinement, physical and social deprivation, long periods of time in transporters, with brutal control methods and physical violence.
  • It is a myth that wild animals are trained with kindness and reward; the tools of the trade include stun guns and other electric prods, metal bars, whips, bullhooks (a heavy bar with a sharpened point and hook), deprivation of food and water and intimidation.
  • Keeping stressed, large and dangerous wild animals close to the public in lightweight, temporary enclosures has proven disastrous. Workers and members of the public have been killed and maimed; lions, tigers and elephants have all escaped.
  • It is estimated that around 12% of Asian and 2% of African elephants in North America have tuberculosis (TB), a disease transmissible from elephants to humans.
  • Because of the traveling nature of the circus, animal welfare officers have difficulties with protecting the animals, inspections and associated time and costs. This justifies a restriction, for the protection of the animals and the public.
  • Circuses must change with the times. Human only circuses are thriving. Cirque du Soleil now has 19 shows in 271 cities, generating an estimated $810 million a year. Whereas the wild animal traveling show, Piccadilly Circus, recently canceled performances across Southern California due to poor ticket sales.
  • Circus workers perform multiple roles; staff can be retrained, so jobs are not lost. Circus Vargas removed their animal acts and the business continues. Surveys have shown that a decline in animal circuses can be matched by a rise in circuses with human performers.

© Animal Defenders International 2019