Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI and NAVS highlight UK's role in wildlife exploitation on first World Wildlife Day

Posted: 3 March 2014

On the first World Wildlife Day, leading animal protection organisations Animal Defenders International (ADI) and the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) are highlighting the UK’s role in the continued exploitation of wild animals. Wild animals are widely acknowledged to face illegal poaching and habitat destruction overseas, yet in the UK some of the same species are forced to suffer for entertainment and in experiments.

Many people are shocked to hear that threatened species including lions, tigers and elephants can still be forced to perform in UK circuses. Presenting wild animals as objects of fun can negatively distort people’s perception of the conservation status of animals and undermine efforts to protect them (1). ADI has worked with CITES to restrict cross-border movements of circuses touring with wild animals, and campaigned successfully around the world to ban circuses from using animals. ADI investigations have exposed the abuse of elephants, bears, chimpanzees, lions, tigers and other wild animals in entertainment around the world, most recently exposing terrible suffering at a monkey show in South Korea (2). Three years ago this month, ADI revealed the shocking abuse of Anne the elephant at a UK circus (3). Her plight became symbolic of wild animal suffering in circuses and the desperate need for a ban. Despite promises, the UK is dragging its feet on banning the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer said, “Twenty-five countries now have national bans on wild animal circuses but the UK Government is still dragging its feet. This is unacceptable to the public and the few remaining wild animals currently languishing in circuses. How long must they wait?”

Years of investigations by the NAVS have revealed the shocking exploitation of wild animals for experiments. Last month, the NAVS revealed an investigation at a monkey breeding farm that rips monkeys from the wild (4). The facility breeds babies who are later sent to laboratories around the world; many will be subjected to cruel and painful experiments. The investigation took place in Mauritius, a major international supplier which provides up to 10,000 monkeys a year, 1,000 of whom are imported to UK laboratories (5).

The NAVS Campaigns Director Tim Phillips said, “Sadly, many wild animals do not live in their natural habitats but are captured, caged and exploited by the animal research industry. Caught from the wild, these animals’ babies are taken from their arms and sent for unethical and unreliable experiments. It is high time monkey experiments are stopped.”

The NAVS and ADI have rescued monkeys from laboratories, and lions and primates from circuses. ADI’s epic mission to ban animal circuses in Bolivia and rescue every animal, airlifting 25 lions to a US sanctuary, is featured in an award-winning new documentary Lion Ark (6). Later this year ADI will again undertake a major international mission to rescue all of the wild circus animals in Peru and relocate them to places where they can live out their lives in peace.

You can save wild animals from Peru’s circuses by donating towards ADI’s appeal to fund the forthcoming rescue, or adopt one of the many animals who have already been saved at


Fleur Dawes 0207 630 3344 or 0778 555 2548


1. Use of “Entertainment” Chimpanzees in Commercials Distorts Public Perception Regarding Their Conservation Status

2. Behind the curtains at South Korea’s barbaric monkey stage show: Animals dressed as children tortured and choked during training to ensure tricks are faultless

3. Abuse of Anne the elephant at Bobby Roberts Super Circus

4. Pictures: Caught and tattooed with serial numbers - baby monkeys destined for lab tests in UK

5. The UK imported over 1,500 monkeys in 2012, almost 1,000 from Mauritius

Mauritius exports around 8,000-10,000 monkeys a year worldwide

Annual statistics of scientific procedures on living animals - Great Britain 2012

Long-tailed macaques arrived in Mauritius around the 16th Century, and they are an established part of the fauna. Research on the impact of trapping long-tailed macaques from the wild in Mauritius is scarce, but the number of animals taken from the wild was estimated at 40,000 per year in 1994, which would amount to about 12% of population.

6. Lion Ark the movie

Animal Defenders International
With offices in Los Angeles, London and Bogotá, Animal Defenders International 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.

The National Anti-Vivisection Society
Founded in 1875, the National Anti-Vivisection Society is the world’s premier anti-vivisection group, leading the way on introduction of advanced alternatives to replace the use of animals. Millions of animals suffer and die in cruel, unscientific, and futile experiments. The NAVS advocates the total prohibition of all animal experiments, and, pending the achievement of this aim, may support partial measures which would provide steps towards reform.

© Animal Defenders International 2019