Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Cruelty exposed in circuses in Bolivia

Posted: 3 April 2007


‘Stop Circus Suffering’ campaign launched in Cochabamba

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 Bolivia.

The findings will be revealed in a new report and video being released in Cochabamba today, at the launch of a new national campaign from ADI and the Asociación para la Defensa de los Derechos de los Animales (ADDA) and Educación y Bienestar Animal (EBA).

The first screening of the new video ALTO AL SUFRIMIENTO EN LOS CIRCOS will take place on Tuesday, 3 April 2007 at 9am in the Salón de los Espejos de la Dirección de Medio Ambiente del Municipio in Cochbamba and on Wednesday, 4 April 2007 at 7pm.

ADI’s undercover investigators 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. The video footage shows how animals in Bolivian circuses are subject to the same cruel and brutal training methods as those recently recorded in Colombia and Ecuador.

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.

At Circo Abuhadba, Bolivia: Four lions were kept in a beastwagon and could not exercise or express their normal behaviour patterns. Three of them left the cage for just ten minutes each day for the show; a lion cub remained permanently in the beastwagon.
During the show, the animals would have to jump through a ring of fire – something they would naturally avoid and therefore a trick that would require considerable force in training – and which would continue to frighten and torment the animals each time they performed. Two of the lionesses were pregnant, but continued to perform. Three brown bears were kept in three compartments of a beastwagon, each measuring approx 2.5 x 3m, no other exercise facilities were available for these animals.

At Bochincheros circos, Bolivia: Capuchin monkeys and spider monkeys were photographed in small crates. The two species of primates could also see each other, something which would cause stress and aggression.

At Circo Abuhadba, Bolivia: There was no barrier between the audience and the three brown bears, which were made to dance, play dead and ride a bicycle.

Animals found travelling with Bolivian circuses include Brown bears, various species of monkey, lions, dogs, horses, donkeys and llamas.

ADI, EBA and ADDA have all studied the video evidence and concluded that, under the circumstances of constant travel and restrictions on space, it is simply not possible for travelling circuses in Bolivia to provide these animals with the facilities they need to achieve an acceptable, international standard of welfare.

Jan Creamer, ADI Chief Executive says: “ADI, ADDA and EBA 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 Bolivians – do not go to animal circuses”.

Leaflets, posters, DVDs, and reports have been prepared for distribution in Bolivia.

ADI, EBA and ADDA will also be pressing for national and local bans on the use of animals in travelling circuses.

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Asociación para la Defensa de los Derechos de los Animales Calle Antezana casi Jordán No. 415, TUNARI.COM, Primer Piso, Cochabamba

Educación y Bienestar Animal, Calle Jordan S-0580, 2do. Piso Of. 5
4220149, 70743135, 70721268, 70376579.

Animal Defenders International (ADI)
With offices in London and San Francisco, ADI lobbies worldwide to protect animals on issues such as animals in entertainment, in research, wildlife trafficking, as well as vegetarianism; factory farming; pollution and conservation. ADI rescues animals in distress and provides educational materials. ADI is one of the world’s leading groups for animal protection and has succeeded through its undercover investigations in securing legal change.

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