Displaying items by tag: circuses


(May 18, 2017) – On the eve of Ringling Bros. permanently ending its traveling animal-based circus acts, The Humane Society of the United States released the results of a disturbing undercover investigation of a different traveling tiger act used by the Carden Circus and Shrine Circuses, showing tigers being regularly whipped and hit. In one instance, the investigator witnessed a trainer angrily whip at a tiger 31 times in less than two minutes after he became frustrated with the animal during a training session.

The HSUS investigation of ShowMe Tigers, a traveling tiger act hired to perform in circus shows, revealed numerous potential violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act and raises alarm about the violent handling and inhumane confinement of the tigers as well as safety concerns for the animals and public. ShowMe Tigers is owned and operated by tiger trainer Ryan Easley (aka Ryan Holder), one of many tiger trainers who contract with regional circuses around the country.

The investigation took place from December 28, 2016 through January 18, 2017, during which time The HSUS investigator was with Easley at his headquarters in Hugo, Oklahoma followed by nine days on the road while Easley toured with the Carden Circus, often performing for Shrine Circuses, in Sulfur Springs, Giddings, Bryan and Cedar Park, Texas, and in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Last year, Easley performed all season at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Prior to that, Easley toured with the Kelly Miller Circus for years.

The HSUS has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture asserting likely violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and is urging the agency to investigate ShowMe Tigers and take swift enforcement action for violations of federal law.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS said: “While it’s true that Ringling is going out of business, other circuses are still operating and using inhumane methods of handling wild animals. There’s no excuse or rationale for whipping tigers or other wild animals for these silly performances. All circuses should end their wild animal acts.”


  • A tiger named Tora did not receive veterinary care for a raw open wound on the side of her face. The USDA had previously cited Easley for not providing veterinary care to Tora when she had a laceration on her ribcage.
  • The distressed tigers were whipped and terrorized to force them to perform physically difficult tricks, including one tiger who was forced to “moonwalk” on her hind legs.
  • The tigers cowered, flinched and moaned in distress and flattened their ears back in a fearful response to being whipped and hit with a stick, typical behavior of traumatized and abused tigers. The mere presence of these tools during performances evoked classic signs of fear and behavioral stress.
  • While traveling, except for the few minutes each day when the tigers performed, they were kept exclusively in transport cages, where they ate, slept, paced, urinated and defecated in the mere 13-square feet of space afforded to each tiger. Not once were they provided the chance to exercise outside the cages. In fact, the tigers’ exercise cage was never unloaded from the trailer.
  • In Hugo, Oklahoma, the tigers had no heat source and only an inch of bedding during temperatures often well below freezing.
  • Easley withheld food from the tigers on five of the 22 days of the investigation, fed them only raw chicken and rarely provided necessary dietary supplements.

In a statement provided to The HSUS, Jay Pratte, an animal-behavior expert, trainer, and wildlife consultant with 25 years of experience, said: “Ryan Easley utilizes archaic training methods which entail fear, force and punishment. In my professional opinion, the tigers at ShowMe Tigers are suffering from psychological neglect and trauma on a daily basis.”

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated most effective by our peers. For more than 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 100,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read about our more than 60 years of transformational change for animals and people. HumaneSociety.org

Animal Defenders International (ADI) applauds Massachusetts State Senator Bruce Tarr’s introduction of SD.2002, to prohibit traveling wild & exotic animal acts. ADI was honored to work with Senator Tarr and local advocates on the bill, reflecting increasing public recognition that these acts are both cruel and dangerous.

The Feld organization recently announced its closure of RinglingBros. circuses, citing decreased ticket sales over the last decade, a change in views from audiences, and admitting that“It isn’t relevant to people in the same way.”

The Federation of Veterinarians of Europenotes"There is little or no educational, conservational, research or economic benefit derived fromthe use of wild mammals in travelling circuses that might justify their use. In addition to thewelfare considerations, the use of wild mammals in circuses canrepresent serious animalhealth and public health and safety risks.

ADI President Jan Creamer said ADI worked closely with Senator Tarr on this effort and we know how determined he is to protect wild animals and the public from these cruel and dangerous acts. ADI’s evidence of the suffering and abuse of wild animals in circuses shows that these shows simply cannot meet the needs of wild animals in lightweight, small and mobile accommodation.

A comprehensive 2016 scientific review considered the latest science and consulted 658 experts and organizations around the world (including industry representatives), to ultimately conclude that for wild animals, this is not “a life worth living.”

Once a ban is in place, ADI has offered to assist with the relocation of circus animals should the need arise. Despite assurances from the circus industry, the physical and psychological health of animals in circuses is inevitably compromised. Animals in circuses are routinely subjected to brutal training methods and violence.

ADI has led the campaign to expose the suffering and educate the public around the world, providing video evidence, prosecutions, and expert reviews. 34 nations have reviewed the evidence and taken action to end traveling circus performances. Across 27states in the US, 68jurisdictions have already decided to either ban or restrict the use of wild animals in traveling shows, due to concerns about public safety and animal welfare.

ADI is also supporting RepresentativesRyan Costello (R-PA) andRaul Grijalva(D-AZ), who launched Traveling Exotic Animaland Public Safety ProtectionAct (TEAPSPA)in Congress last November. The congressmen have concluded that ending wild animal use is the only practical approach to deal withpublic safety issues and inspection and oversightproblems repeatedly cited by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

Following bans on the use of animals in circuses in Peru and Colombia,ADIworked with both governments to remove over 100 animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade last year including lions, bears, monkeys, a tiger and others. ADI rehabilitated the animals and rehomed them to their natural habitats. These rescues were popular with the public and show what can be achieved with legislators and animal protection organizations cooperating.

Join the global campaign to Stop Circus Suffering: www.stopcircussuffering.com

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has today released an undercover investigation that reveals shocking conditions and violations of animal protection law in South Korea at “Monkey School,” an attraction that forces monkeys to perform in shows:

Monkeys living in squalid and barren conditions, including mothers and their young babies.
Traumatized monkeys exhibiting abnormal behavior, for example constantly spinning around and biting themselves.
Some monkeys isolated, in tiny cages while others were crammed together, all causing stress and psychological damage.
Animals hit during training and dragged along the floor.
Disgraceful contempt for a monkey as it tries to escape with its hands tied behind its back, falling onto its face, as workers laugh at its predicament and terror.

The scenes in South Korea show the same poor living conditions and appalling attitudes to animals that are universal to the performing animals industry that ADI has documented in the US and around the world at circuses and suppliers of performing animals for movies, advertising and television (1). ADI is calling for US citizens not to attend shows with live animal performances, to contact their Member of Congress to support legislation to end the use of wild animals in circuses and sign the petition to end wild animal performances in South Korea.

The ADI investigation of Monkey School in South Korea reveals: squalid and barren living conditions; traumatized animals showing psychotic behavior; animals found dead in cages; animals hit during training; and animals dragged along the floor by their necks.

ADI President, Jan Creamer: “Our investigation of Monkey School in South Korea has shown that performing animals endure extreme cruelty behind the scenes, just as we have found in the US, where we discovered beatings of elephants and other animals, use of electric shocks and the barren, deprived conditions that make animals go out of their minds. Countries around the world are banning animal performances and we hope to see the US do the same. US citizens can stop the cruelty by refusing to watch animal shows and signing our petition supporting South Korea’s new Zoo Act.”

Sharon Shaw, Director of Lakeview Monkey Sanctuary in the UK said: “All aspects of life for primates at Monkey School are appalling, from the inadequate and atrocious housing conditions, the physical and psychological torture, to the lack of empathy and respect shown by the staff. The poor animals who are unlucky enough to live there endure a barbaric, unnatural life.”

South Korea’s animal protection law is limited (2), yet ADI’s investigation has revealed violations by Monkey School including finding a monkey dead, having received no medical treatment; and animals moved to new enclosures without any provision to help them adapt to their new environment.

Congresswoman Hanna Chang has proposed a Zoo Act in South Korea that would ban circus-style animal performances and set minimum welfare standards and inspections for places that exhibit captive animals (3). Congresswoman Chang said: “As seen in the ADI footage, it is hard to imagine the pain that monkeys have to go through for humans every day. This clearly shows that it is now time to have regulations to monitor the welfare of animals in captivity in Korea.”

ADI and its South Korean campaigns partner Korean Animal Rights Alliance have joined over 80 international animal organizations supporting the new Zoo Act (4). The international petition supporting South Korea’s Zoo Act can be signed at: http://bit.ly/ADIKoreaPetition

Twenty five countries around the world have restricted circus animal performances, including Austria, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Poland, Portugal, Peru, Singapore, Sweden and Taiwan (5). The US and Korea are among several countries currently discussing bans on circus animals including Ireland, the UK, Brazil and Germany.


January 21, 2014, LOS ANGELES, CA – Lion Ark, the feature length documentary about the rescue of 25 lions from cruel circuses in Bolivia, has been nominated by America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, the NAACP, in their Outstanding International Motion Picture category for the 45th NAACP Image Awards.

The prestigious Image Awards by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) celebrates "the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors."

Others up for awards this year in different categories include Beyoncé, John Legend, Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Hudson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Forest Whitaker.

Lion Ark follows a dangerous and ambitious international animal rescue as illegal circuses are tracked down across Bolivia and the animals saved, culminating in a huge airlift of 25 lions to safety in the U.S. Behind the huge logistical task a group of people from America, Britain, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia come together to help the lions.

Actress Jorja Fox, world famous for her role as Sara Sidle in CSI, is an associate Producer of Lion Ark and also appears in the film: “What I didn’t realize was that it was going to be an extraordinary story about the human spirit and what the human spirit can do when people come together.”

Early in the film, Jan Creamer, President and founder of Animal Defenders International, the organization behind the rescue, explains the rescuers’ motivation: “People sometimes ask, why bother about animals when there’s so much human suffering? But it is not a choice of one or the other. When we protect the weakest or the most vulnerable, whether it is animals or people, we all gain. That’s how we shape our world…understanding our connection with other species, and our place on this planet, is the next step in human evolution.”

Tim Phillips, Director of Lion Ark“We are honored to have been nominated for this award. Lion Ark is a film about respect for people and animals so we are really pleased to receive this acknowledgement. In this film, you see the worst of humanity, but also humanity at its best. It is an empowering film that shows that people can make a difference. Lion Ark shows how animal protection is a vital part of the fabric of social justice, where human society draws a line as to what is, and is not, acceptable.”

The film shows how Bolivians got behind the rescue mission and in one scene a Bolivian Government official makes references to how some international non-governmental organizations can be heavy handed when working in poorer countries. Wildlife official David Kopp says: “Some international organizations think this is a poor country, a small, corrupt country and you can come in here and do what you like, but that’s not true. We’re looking for respect and coordinated work. Then we can do big things, like this.”

In addition to Lion Ark the other five nominees in the Outstanding International Motion Picture category are:
War Witch; Call Me Kuchu; La Playa D.C.; High Tech, Low Life.

Nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture are:
12 Years a Slave; Lee Daniel’s The Butler; Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Fruitvale Station; The Best Man Holiday.

Members of the NAACP have until February 14th to vote for the nominated movies for the Image Awards, with the award ceremony taking place on the 21st and 22nd of February. The glittering awards ceremony in Los Angeles has, in the past, been hosted by luminaries such as Denzel Washington, Diana Ross, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Whitney Houston.

The Image Awards http://www.naacpimageawards.net

Lion Ark http://www.lionarkthemovie.com

Since Bolivia prohibited the use of animals in traveling circuses, 4 other South American countries have followed – Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Paraguay. And in Europe, countries like Greece, Austria, Croatia and Portugal have implemented similar measures. Countries like China and Taiwan are grappling with this issue of animal protection. 

Over 25 countries have banned animal circuses, representing a huge range of cultures and socio economic circumstances; there is a worldwide movement that animals should not be made to suffer, just to amuse us.



See the Lion Ark Trailer online at: www.lionarkthemovie.com

Lion Ark: More action adventure than traditional documentary, Lion Ark follows the world’s most ambitious and daring animal rescue, with a narrative compiled from film, interviews, conversations and reactions as events unfolded. How attitudes to animals were changed in Bolivia, illegal circuses pursued and closed, and 25 lions airlifted to freedom.

Lion Ark Film Festival Selections include: Winner Best Documentary (Jury Award), Sun & Sand Film & Music Festival, Mississippi; Winner Audience Choice Best Documentary, San Diego Film Festival; Audience Choice Award Anchorage International Film Festival; Official Selection Raindance Film Festival, London; Official Selection Mill Valley Film Festival; Official Selection Hawaii International Film Festival; Official Selection Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival; Official Selection Virginia Film Festival; Official Selection Starz Denver Film Festival; Official Selection Irvine International Film Festival; Official Selection Beloit International Film Festival; Official Selection Sedona International Film Festival.

NAACP: Founded in 1909, the NAACP is America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans. The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

“a spunky account of a perilous rescue mission...Lion Ark proceeds with refreshing unpredictability.”
– Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

“Compelling cinema verité”
– Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter

“If you enjoy movies filled with suspense, thrills, surprises, adventure and action, put Lion Ark on your must-see list. For me, Lion Ark is the feel-good movie of the year!”
– Betty Jo Tucker, Reel Talk

“heartwarming, beautiful and inspirational. It reminds you of the majestic power of documentary filmmaking and it’s ability to stir true emotion.”
– Justin Bozung, Shock Cinema Magazine / Mondo Film & Video Guide

“…this film should be a target for this year’s Oscars. Excellent.”
ACED Magazine

“Lion Ark is through and through entertaining…be ready for some up-tempo action-adventure of the most thrilling variety: real-life.”
Stark Insider

thoroughly rewarding...”
– TV and Film Review

“Lion Ark is an awe-inspiring journey that grips and engages”
– Britflicks

“Lion Ark takes an already incredible and unforgettable story and breathes life and passion and transformation into it...one of your must-see films of 2013.”
– The Independent Critic

“A consciousness-raising milestone of a documentary”
– Edgar Vaid, The Ecologist

“will restore some faith in humanity”
– JM Willis, Shockya.com

“Lion Ark is a film that will grab your attention and your heart”
– Alexis Higgins, CMR Movie Reviews and News

“ultimately an uplifting story. It’s a revealing documentary with a lot of heart.”
– Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

“AMAZING! Viewers will be crying tears of joy throughout...”
– Renee Snyder, International Animal Welfare Examiner, The Examiner

More reviews and links to all above reviews are available here: www.lionarkthemovie.com/news/lion-ark-reviews

Animal Defenders International
6100 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 1150
Los Angeles, California 90048

December 26, 2014, LOS ANGELES, CA
World-leading campaign organization Animal Defenders International (ADI) is welcoming a number of successes for animals throughout 2013. The organization’s list of top-ten successes from 2013 shows victories for animals all over the world, from the Amazon rainforest to Nevada.

ADI President, Jan Creamer“In 2013 we have secured laws to protect animals, spared animals from laboratories and circuses, and opened people’s eyes and hearts to animals exploited for entertainment and research around the world. We now urgently need to rescue animals from desperate conditions in Peruvian circuses, so please join our team to make the world a better place for those animals and many more by becoming a member today.”

1.  Colombia bans wild animals in circuses. In June, some six years after ADI launched its damning undercover investigation of the Latin American circus industry, Colombia followed Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay with a ban. The campaign was hard fought, with vigorous opposition from Colombia’s powerful circus industry and marks an important win for animals.

2.  Europe bans cosmetics tests on animals. The European Union introduced the final stage of the cosmetics ban, which prohibits the marketing and sale of new animal-tested products from March 11, 2013. ADI and its partner organizations have campaigned for the ban for over 30 years. This vital legislation will put pressure on other countries to follow suit.

3.  ADI invited to rescue Peru’s circus animals. After successfully securing a ban on wild animals in circuses in Peru, the Government has asked ADI to return and help rescue the animals from the dismal conditions. ADI is preparing and conducting a census of the country’s circus animals. This will be ADI’s greatest challenge in 2014 and the organization urgently needs public support to rescue the animals.

4.  Circus ban in El Salvador. El Salvador has become the latest Latin American country to ban the use of wild animals in circuses, with ADI working with local groups to secure success.

5.  “No Fun for Elephants” victories. ADI kicked off 2013 with a new campaign video narrated by Bob Barker, which quickly clocked up victories as five fairs said no to the cruel elephant rides offered by HTWT and Trunks & Humps.

6.  Lion Ark lifts off! In October, ADI’s feature length film documenting the rescue of 25 lions from Bolivian circuses hit the film festival circuit, winning awards, critical acclaim, and the hearts of people who have had their eyes opened to the hidden suffering of circus animals. Lion Ark offers an enjoyable, uplifting and accessible look at the issues faced by circus animals. Watch out for Lion Ark in 2014!

7.  1000s of owl monkeys saved from experiments. This month it was formally announced that the capture of owl monkeys in the Amazon would no longer be permitted. ADI undercover investigators exposed the night-time trapping of the terrified monkeys as they were torn from the trees.

8.  British circus ban moves forward. The legislation for the long promised ban on wild animals in British circuses was finally tabled. But there was another battle as a committee tried to radically reduce the scope of the new law. ADI fought off the attempt and the full ban on wild animals will be put before Parliament.

9.  Baby elephant Lily saved from a life of misery. ADI hit the media nationally across the US, when it learned that notorious trainer Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) – exposed by an ADI investigation – had a claim on newborn elephant Lily at Oregon Zoo. As a result, the zoo purchased both Lily and her father (owned by HTWT) and tore up the agreement.

10.  Plans for beagle farm defeated. Previously defeated plans for a laboratory beagle factory farm in the UK were re-submitted. ADI’s UK partner organization led the campaign to halt the plans, leading to a national outcry and the plans were denied again!


  1. “Victory: Colombia bans wild animals in circuses” http://www.ad-international.org/publications/go.php?id=3349
  2. “Cosmetics Testing Ends in Europe: A victory for ethics and science” http://www.ad-international.org/animal_experiments/go.php?id=3073&ssi=83
  3. “Help ADI get the animals out of Colombia and Peru’s circuses” http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=3193&ssi=10
  4. “El Salvador votes to ban wild animals in circuses” http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=3260
  5. “Bob Barker Spearheads New ADI Campaign to End Elephant Suffering at Fairs” http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=3034
  6. Lion Ark http://www.lionarkthemovie.com
  7. “Lab monkey hunt STOPPED!” http://www.ad-international.org/publications/go.php?id=2930
  8. “The campaign to end wild animals in circuses in the UK” http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=2678&ssi=10
  9. “Oregon Zoo Secures Ownership of Baby Elephant Lily” http://www.ad-international.org/conservation/go.php?id=3035&ssi=0
  10. “NAVS Welcomes Council Decision To Protect Dogs From Laboratories” http://www.navs.org.uk/media_centre/35/0/3389/

ADI: http://www.ad-international.org


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. www.ad-international.org

February 1, 2013, LOS ANGELES, CA–Three circus elephants were left out in the cold yesterday evening after their trailer slid off the road and onto the snow-covered verge while traveling along Interstate 70 in Indiana. The elephants were offloaded and stood huddled on the Interstate while their trailer was moved back onto the road. The elephants were reportedly not injured in the crash http://bit.ly/WCHZGM. The incident was just four miles from a multi-vehicle accident on 1-70.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is dismayed that yet another road accident involving elephants has taken place less than four months after a semi-truck towing a trailer of four elephants belonging to Cole Brothers Circus of the Stars ran off Interstate 10 in south Mississippi. At the time it was stated that three of the elephants were unloaded while the trailer was unhooked from the damaged truck and pulled back to the interstate, however the fourth elephant was reportedly “too angry” to unload.  Both the driver and elephants were apparently unhurt in the incident http://fxn.ws/UJ6TEa. A month later, a UniverSoul Circus trailer crashed in Georgia containing llamas, zebras and camels.

At the time, Tim Phillips, ADI Vice President commented: “It is lucky that no animals, nor people, appear to have been seriously injured. However, the injuries to a huge, heavy animal like an elephant being thrown around a metal container during an accident may not be realized yet, we will have to see. Accidents do happen, but when circuses are moving dangerous wild animals to different locations every week, whatever the weather, then you are dramatically increasing the chances of a problem.”

Phillips, who has overseen the international relocation of lions, tigers and primates around the world, reacted to this latest incident, saying: “You need to be incredibly careful when moving wild animals. If, like a travelling circus, you are moving them on very regular basis, with a lot of other pressures such as dismantling and preparing the next circus site, then you are asking for trouble.  It is disturbing that we have had three potentially fatal accidents take place within months of each other.   Next time the animals might not be so lucky.  Let’s try and keep wildlife off the road as much as possible.”




Animal Defenders International
ADI is leading the campaign to end the suffering of animals in entertainment and currently has major campaigns running in Europe, South America and the USA. ADI’s
shocking exposure of the training of elephants for the movies ‘Water for Elephants’ and ‘Zookeeper’ showed animals electric shocked and beaten with bullhooks.

ADI recently rescued and relocated a record breaking 29 circus lions from Bolivia to sanctuaries in the U.S.

With offices in Los Angeles, London 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 behind-the-scenes suffering in the industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world and educates the public on animals and environmental issues.

ADI’s Mission
To educate, create awareness, and promote the interest of humanity in the cause of justice, and the suppression of all forms of cruelty to animals wherever possible to alleviate suffering, and to conserve and protect animals and the environment.


‘Historic Bill to end cruelty to wild animals in circuses’

Washington DC, Nov. 02, 2011 – Today on Capitol Hill, renowned celebrity animal protectionists Bob  Barker and Jorja Fox will join Animal Defenders International (ADI), the Performing Animal Welfare  Society (PAWS) and members of Congress to launch a Bill that will change the way in which animals are used in the name of entertainment in the USA.

The Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA) is a historic first for the US, and this Bill, which has  attracted bipartisan support and been co-sponsored by Congressman Mr Moran and Mr Young (TBC), aims to restrict the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses, effectively bringing to an end the random cruelty and neglect associated with circuses of this nature.   It is the first bill to comprehensively tackle the use of all wild animals in US circuses ever to be launched in the US.


Philanthropist and TV host of The Price Is Right Bob Barker said: “Americans are becoming increasingly aware that circus animals suffer from violent training techniques and severe confinement. Big, wild animals should not be part of the traveling circus and simply put, animal acts in circuses are antiquated and belong in the past, in a time when humans were ignorant about the needs of the other species who share our planet. “

CSI actress Jorja Fox said: “Congress has a responsibility to protect the welfare of animals and ensure public safety. A prohibition on the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses is proportionate, responsible, the least expensive solution to this problem, and long overdue.  We call on Congress to bring to an end, once and for all, the abuse and suffering that has been exposed by ADI time and time again.”

A new video to be screened at the launch entitled ‘In the United States today...’ features footage from circuses including violence, confinement and deprivation.  The Bill is supported by a series of Congressional ADI Briefings, which cover key issues such as ‘Public Health & Safety’, ‘Enforcement’, ‘Captivity & Transport’, ‘Control and Violence’, ‘TB’ and ‘Economics’. This provides overwhelming evidence to support the reasons that it is time for the US to move forward with other countries that are now taking action – the US needs to restrict the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.  

Careful research and detailed undercover investigations in US traveling circuses have shown the welfare of animals is unacceptably compromised as the animals endure confinement, physical and social deprivation, long, arduous journeys, brutal control methods and physical violence. The training tools of the circus trade include bullhooks, electric prods, and whips.

Large animals like lions and tigers spend their lives cramped in small cages, and elephants are forced to live chained by one or more legs for hours on end. In addition, traveling circuses pose a serious threat to public safety, as the keeping of wild, stressed animals in dangerously close proximity to the public is a recipe for disaster. Incidents of circus workers and members of the public having been killed and maimed by circus animals are well documented.

ADI’s evidence show how law enforcement authorities have difficulty enforcing Federal animal health, safety, and welfare laws, and violations due to the mobile and transitory nature of traveling circuses.

Jan Creamer, ADI’s President said: “This is a historic day, this is about America standing up and saying these magnificent animals should not be abused in the name of entertainment.  The days of animals suffering in traveling circuses are numbered not just here in the US but all over the world.  Due to severe confinement, lack of free exercise, and the restriction of natural behaviors, animals used in traveling circuses suffer and are prone to health, behavioral, and psychological problems.

“With the support of Bob Barker, ADI has exposed, time and again, that the use of violence to control animals is part of circus culture. In the US we have seen animals beaten, whipped and electric shocked to make them perform tricks.  We have shown that welfare and public safety are unacceptably compromised in traveling circuses. This brutality now needs to stop – for good.”

Ed Stewart from PAWS said: “Bob Barker and PAWS have advocated for performing animals for many years. We have witnessed the conditions in which they live and the physical and psychological damage they have endured.   Mr. Barker has personally funded the peaceful retirement of numerous ex-circus animals to sanctuaries. It is time that we as a civilized nation stop the frivolous use of exotic animals in demeaning performances.  The Show Must Not Go On."

In February this year, ADI completed a mission that removed every circus animal from Bolivia after securing an animal circus ban there.  This included flying 25 lions to Colorado and 4 to California to safe homes.  Bolivia has the most progressive law in the world, but turned to American compassion to help the animals.  ADI and PAWS believe the Bill will have massive popular support in the US.

Similar measures to prohibit or limit the use of animals in circuses have already been adopted in Bolivia, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Peru, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, India and other countries and similar laws are being discussed in the UK, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Greece.  

These countries have looked at the evidence and listened to the will of the people and done the right thing for animal welfare by implementing bans. It is now time that the US did the same. 


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Animal Defenders International

With offices in Los Angeles, London 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. 




Performing Animal Welfare Society

PAWS operate three captive wildlife sanctuaries in California, providing lifetime care for hundreds of exotic animals.  Having worked inside the performing animal industry and now specializing in the care of abused, abandoned or retired performing animals, the PAWS founders are acknowledged experts on the impacts on these animals and the suffering they endure in the name of entertainment.  They provide expert testimony in criminal and agency investigations and also provide expertise to wildlife agencies, Congress, State Legislatures, and city and county hearings across the United States.


In the US, local bans have been achieved in municipalities such as Pasadena, CA, Richmond, MO, Greenburgh, NY, Orange County, NC, Boulder, CO, Stanford, CT, Tallahassee, FL, Jefferson County, KY, Revere, MA, Richmond, MO, Greenburgh, NY, Aiken, SC, Charlottesville, VA, Burlington, VT, Port Townsend, WA, Green Bay, WI, and most recently  Irvine, CA among many others.

Recent incidents in the US demonstrate that travelling circuses pose a serious threat to public safety:

·         In February 2010, a zebra escaped from Ringling Brothers in Atlanta and ran into the city. Police had to chase it for 40 minutes until it was recaptured on a busy interstate. A few weeks later, the animal was euthanized.  Two weeks earlier, during a pre-show at the same circus in South Carolina, an elephant broke through a main door and ran into the arena.  It was reported that there were about 100 people on the floor.

·         April 27, 2010/Lynchburg, Virginia: An elephant named Viola escaped from the Cole Bros. Circus. She bolted directly past a line of people waiting to buy tickets, sending some running toward the parking lot. Viola injured her shoulder and broke a toenail when she slid in the mud and fell into a steep ravine. She was on the loose for approximately 30 minutes.

·         April 9, 2010/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: An animal handler with the Hamid Circus was kicked and thrown about 20 feet by an African elephant named Dumbo at Irem Shrine Circus. The handler died at the scene from multiple traumatic injuries. The elephant had been leased from Joe Frisco’s Wonderful World of Animals.

·         On November 4, 2009, an elephant escaped from the Family Fun Circus in Enid, Oklahoma and was struck by an SUV on US Interstate 81.

·         February 6, 2010/Columbia, South Carolina: According to The State, “A startled elephant took a wrong turn backstage and broke through the main prop door leading into the Colonial Life Arena during the afternoon pre-show for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus …. . . . About 100 spectators on the floor watching the pre-show saw the elephant break through the door toward them and rumble around the performance area, just a few feet away.”

·         March 7, 2009/Indianapolis, Indiana: At least 15 children and one adult were injured when an elephant who was being used to give rides at the Murat Shrine Circus became startled, stumbling and knocking over the scaffolding stairway leading to the elephant ride. People on the elephant’s back and others standing on, under, and around the scaffolding were injured. Their injuries were treated on the scene. The Shriners had leased the elephant from exhibitor Will Davenport, dba Maximus Tons of Fun.

·         March 13, 2009/Fruitland Park, Florida: A spider monkey named Reggie escaped from the Liebling Family Circus

·         In March 2008, three zebras with Ringling Brothers Circus in Baltimore escaped from their temporary enclosure and ran onto the traffic lanes.

·         A lifelong animal trainer was clawed by a tiger during a performance at Hadi Shrine Circus in Indiana in November 2006. The trainer suffered serious injuries to his hand and leg.