Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

ADI offers to help find homes for animals in response to “Mexican Circus Owners Say Ban Means Animal

Posted: 12 March 2015

March 12, 2015 – Responding to a statement by Armando Cedeno, a representative of Mexico’s circus industry where he claims that animals may die as a result of the wild animal ban, Animal Defenders International (ADI) has announced it is willing to help the Government find sanctuary for animals in need. ADI has been invited by the Green Party in Mexico to assist with the implementation of the country’s new law prohibiting the use of wild animals in circuses and will be working to secure the best possible outcome for the animals.

Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer said: “Animal Defenders International is honored to have been asked by the Mexican government to assist with the implementation of the new law and will be using our years of experience to secure the best possible outcome for the animals. Circuses around the world are thriving without animals and we congratulate Mexico for their progressive stance, which is an example to the US.”

ADI helped the government to rescue and home all the animals formerly performing in Bolivian circuses, and is currently working with the authorities in Peru and Colombia to implement legislation prohibiting the use of wild animals in traveling circuses. As part of its groundbreaking rescue mission ‘Operation Spirit of Freedom’, ADI is currently caring for 30 lions and over 30 other animals rescued from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade.

Creamer continued: “By passing legislation to make circuses free of wild animals, Mexico is creating an opportunity for them to attract wider audiences and maintain jobs. This is the making, rather than the breaking of the circus industry in Mexico.”

Legislation prohibiting the use of wild animals in circuses was passed in Mexico in December 2014, with an implementation date of July 2015. Under the new law, circuses face huge fines of 50 to 50,000 times the minimum wage - the equivalent of nearly $230,000 - if found guilty of committing an offence.

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 and the organization’s two-year undercover investigation in South American circuses has been key in securing bans in nine Latin American countries.

In the last Congress, ADI joined now-retired Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) to introduce H.R. 4525, The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA), which aims to reform the circus industry by eliminating wild animal acts from touring shows while allowing human performances and domesticated animals like horses and dogs to continue. ADI is seeking a new sponsor to reintroduce TEAPA in this 114th Congress. A typical 2-hour show features wild animals for less than 15 minutes, and so it is not unreasonable for circuses to re-tool and re-shape their shows. Human performance circuses are on the rise and thriving around the world.

49 cities/counties in 22 states have already taken action to restrict wild animals from traveling circuses.


Lori De Waal +1 323-462-4122
ADI media desk +1 323-804-9920

Film and photographs of circus animals are available from ADI

ABC News “Mexican circus owners say ban means animals may die”

Animal Defenders International
With offices in London, Los Angeles 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.

ADI has been responsible for much of the global legislation on animal circuses. In Bolivia, ADI also enforced the law, raiding 8 illegal circuses, rescuing and rehoming all of the animals. The historic rescue mission is the subject of the multi-award winning and critically acclaimed film LION ARK . The film shows changing attitudes about the treatment of animals in entertainment.

Background – worldwide movement to end use of wild animals in traveling shows

The evidence that the suffering caused to wild animals by the constant travel, severe restrictions on movement and unnatural lifestyle has prompted authorities and governments around the world to end their use.

In the United States, 49 cities/counties in 22 states have taken action to restrict wild animals from traveling circuses. And around the world, hundreds of local ordinances are in place, including in the UK, Europe, and South America.
National restrictions on performing animals in travelling circuses, either wild or all animals, or in a handful of cases specific species, have been enacted in 30 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Malta, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Taiwan, The Netherlands. Similar laws are under discussion in the UK, USA, Brazil and Chile.

Whether it is a traveling circus, or travel from county show to county show, the confinement for the animals is the same:
· 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