Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Indiano: The saddest lion in the world

Posted: 2 May 2007


Ecuador Stop Circus Suffering campaign launched

Indiano should be the king of the beasts, but instead at Ecuador’s Circo Barney y sus Amigos Ecuador, he lives with a chain around his neck inside a pitiful, filthy, rusting cage which is little larger than himself. The 15 year old male lion still retains some dignity and was seen refusing to eat rotten meat provided by the circus. He is left in his cage for hours without water and occasionally taken out to be walked on a chain, led ¬like a dog. ADI Field Officers also filmed the poor old lion being whipped, hit with a metal bar, even kicked by the circus workers.

Indiano’s sad story is one being told today with the launch of a new Stop Circus Suffering campaign and report by Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Ecuador’s Proteccion Animal (PAE). ADI have described the findings of an investigation of circuses in Ecuador as “Some of the worst violence, confinement and deprivation of animals we have ever seen.”

The launch will take place in Quito on 2nd May at Auditorio de la Biblioteca de la Universidad San Francisco de Quito.
This will be followed with nationwide campaign launches in other cities by Ecuador’s leading animal protection groups, including Proteccion Animal Ecuador (PAE) and ARCA Ecuador.
This will be the biggest animal protection campaign the country has ever seen.

The plight of Indiano and other circus animals in Ecuador has been exposed by an undercover investigation of animal use by Field Officers from Animal Defenders International (ADI). The sickening violence, filmed secretly behind the scenes in the circuses, includes:

  • Dogs repeatedly beaten with a solid bar during a training session, yelps of pain from the submissive dogs were ignored.
  • A bull whipped across the head and yanked by a nose.
  • Stones hurled at a bull to make it move.
  • A lion repeatedly struck with a metal pole, sticks and whips.
  • A donkey kicked and hit.
  • Goats whipped hard during training.
  • A Horse being hit with a large piece of wood to force it into a transporter.

The new report and DVD also highlight substandard living conditions for the animals and lack of adequate public safety measures – at several circuses visitors were seen attempting to touch animals like lions and tigers.

Circo Royal Dumbar: Just weeks before the ADI Field Officer arrived at the circus, two lions had escaped and been killed in the street by police. As a result the two lion cubs at the circus were being raised without their parents.

Circo Barney: The beastwagon for the lionesses was secured with string. There was no lock, and, as was common amongst the circuses observed, there was no secondary barrier to prevent members of the public getting close to the animals.

Circo Barney y sus Amigos: Indiano, the old lion, was led like a dog through densely populated areas to promote the show – circus workers claimed to the ADI Field Officers that the lion had attacked people in the past. Workers could barely control the old lion as he tugged on the lead.

Circo Barney & Circo Barney y sus Amigos: Monkeys were tormented by children throwing stones at their cage. A Capuchin was hit by a woman, whilst children with her harassed the monkeys. The monkeys were reported by workers to have attacked people. At the same circus, children abused a sick sheep.

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 subjected 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.

ADI and Proteccion Animal have 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 to provide these animals with the facilities they need to achieve an acceptable, international standard of welfare. The risks of injury, even death, to a member of the public, including a child, are also high.

Jan Creamer, ADI Chief Executive says: “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 will be ensuring that this video is seen all over the country”.

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

ADI, Proteccion Animal, and other animal protection groups in Ecuador will be uniting to call for national and local bans on the use of animals in travelling circuses.

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Protección Animal, Ecuador
Fernando Meneses N 24 32 Y Av. La Gasca, Quito, Ecuador.
Telefax: (593-2) 2222587/2222588/2502750

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