Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Horrific Cruelty exposed in Colombian circuses

Posted: 26 March 2007


Stop Circus Suffering campaign launched in Bogota

An undercover investigation of animal use in circuses across South America by Field Officers from Animal Defenders International (ADI) has revealed shocking abuse and animal suffering in circuses in Colombia. The findings will be revealed in a new report and video being launched in Bogota today. It is the start of a national campaign, being spearheaded by ADI and Colombia’s Mentes Verdes Foundation, to end the use of animals in travelling circuses in Colombia.

The first screening of the new video ALTO AL SUFRIMIENTO EN LOS CIRCOS will take place at a press conference between 9am to 1pm at:
Auditório Anexo del edificio de Postrados de la Facultad de Ciencias Humanas de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

ADI’s investigations team who have exposed the suffering of animals behind the scenes in circuses all over the world, prompting national and local governments to ban the use of animals in travelling circuses, have described video footage from Colombia as “some of the most sickening we have seen”.

The catalogue of violence, which appears in the new video, includes:

  • A llama repeatedly whipped (Circus Africa de Fieras)
  • Chimpanzee, called Panchito, beaten by his trainer – the frightened animal screams throughout the attacks. (Circo Hermanos Gasca)
  • Stones thrown at a monkey by a worker (Circo Hermanos Gasca)
  • Ponies hit repeatedly during training sessions (Circo Africa de fieras)
  • A chimpanzee called Karla, punched in the face and beaten with a chain (Circus Africa de Fieras)

ADI’s investigation also revealed animals living in inadequate, deprived and unnatural conditions. The stress of severe confinement, a consistent factor with travelling animal circuses all over the world, was compounded by lack of space to exercise or to perform natural behaviours and lack of social interaction with their own species. There was inadequate provision of food and water.

Jan Creamer, ADI Chief Executive says: “ADI and Mentes Verdes believe that when people see the suffering of these animals in the name of entertainment they will turn their back on the circus. Travelling circuses cannot provide facilities to adequately care for animals. Inevitably the animals are kept in cramped, unnatural conditions. The way they are forced to live causes considerable suffering, and then they are beaten and abused to force them to perform. We are urging all Colombians – do not go to animal circuses”.

Thousands of leaflets, posters, DVDs, and reports have been prepared for distribution in Colombia. ADI and Fundacion Mentes Verdes will also be pressing for national and local bans on the use of animals in travelling circuses.

Colombia will be the first in a huge drive to end the use of animals in circuses across South America.



The global campaign to Stop Circus Suffering
ADI is leading the campaign to end the suffering of animals in entertainment and currently has major campaigns running in Europe, South America, and soon, in the USA. Campaign materials are available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, and Greek. ADI evidence has secured national bans on animals in circuses in Costa Rica, Singapore and the UK is currently considering such a ban; hundreds of municipalities around the world have banned animal acts and ADI has secured rules for the cross border movements of endangered species with travelling circuses in 170 countries. ADI has secured convictions for cruelty of circus personnel and rescued chimpanzees, lions, tigers, dogs, snakes, and horses from circuses.


We are extremely grateful for the support of the Persula Foundation towards the launch of this important campaign.

© Animal Defenders International 2019