Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

The Battle for Benny

Posted: 4 November 2010. Updated: 16 March 2013


The battle to rescue Benny, a 20 year old elephant sold to Circus Vasquez in the U.S. and transported illegally to Mexico, continues.

Although Benny was seized promptly by the Mexican authorities a decade ago, he has remained in limbo at a government facility while a legal battle has been waged through the Mexican courts.

Circus Vasquez’s legal challenge to the seizure of Benny finally won ground when a judge ruled last year, that the authorities had not followed the proper procedures (due process). Since Benny remains the property of Vasquez, the judge ordered that he be relinquished by the authorities.

However, the Zoo is not willing to return Benny unless the Circus pays their costs for the last 10 years; the Zoo and the local environmental authority have launched a legal action to keep him. Benny remains an illegally trafficked animal in contravention of CITES, to which Mexico and the U.S. are both parties.

ADI’s Mexican and U.S. lawyers are negotiating with PROFEPA (the environment authority) in an attempt to secure Benny’s release from the circus industry, and his return to the U.S. Under CITES rules, the U.S. authorities have the right to seek the return of Benny as an illegally trafficked animal. We are asking the U.S. authorities to press their case with the Mexican authorities. We are working together with our great friend and TV personality Bob Barker, and PAWS, to bring Benny to the PAWS sanctuary in California.

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