Stop Circus Suffering

Animal welfare experts and ethologists shocked by video presented by ADI and ANIMAL

Animal welfare experts and ethologists shocked with a video presented by Animal Defenders International and ANIMAL of a special investigation inside Portuguese circuses that reveals violence and abuse of animals

October 5th 2005: Yesterday, October 4th, World Animal Day, the international campaigning organisation Animal Defenders International (ADI) and the Portuguese campaigning group ANIMAL have presented a new video revealing the results of an undercover investigation inside a Portuguese circus, Circo Soledad Cardinali, and an extensive investigation in Portuguese circuses. This special investigation has been carried out by ADI Field Officers in a joint work with ANIMAL, in August 2003 and June and August 2005.

Victor Hugo Cardinali, owner and director of Circo Victor Hugo Cardinali, repeatedly spiking, with elephant hooks, elephants on their trunks and next to their eyes, during his circus show; Soledad Cardinali, owner and director of Circo Soledad Cardinali, persistently whipping ponies during a training session that was secretly filmed by an ADI Field Officer working undercover in this circus; Valter Dias, owner and director of Circo Atlas, giving an injection to a lioness, without even the presence of a veterinary doctor; footage of these, among other situations of cruelty, physical abuse and completely inappropriate keeping of animals in Portuguese circuses, was presented to the media and shocked the ethologists and animal welfare experts that were invited for the press conference to launch this new campaign.

Augusta Gaspar, university professor of ethology, said, “in this video, we have assisted to very conspicuous signs of severe suffering”. Gongalo Pereira, veterinarian doctor with a specialisation in clinical ethology and animal welfare, concluded that “this video shows clearly that any entertainment show involving the performance of animals, especially with this kind of cruelty and these characteristics, collides with the nature of animals and causes them an immense suffering.” “Circus animals are submitted to severe physical and social deprivation, which is especially evident on their stereotypic behaviours”, declared Constanga Carvalho, psychologist and researcher in ethology. Studying chimpanzees more particularly, Constanga Carvalho has declared herself terribly chocked with the footage of the chimps at Circo Victor Hugo Cardinali and at Circo Soledad Cardinali. The psychologist also stated that “animal circuses are anti-educational and are an excellent example of unnecessary suffering”. Alexandra Pereira, veterinary doctor and a PhD researcher in clinical ethology and animal welfare, said, “we have just watched a parade of animals that are deprived from naturally interactions with other animals of their own species and from a natural or, at least, acceptable environment. They are in socially deprivation, severely confined, and deprived from everything that is natural to them.” She also commented, “this video presents animals with notorious mental disturbances, in physical and psychological suffering. These animals have quite clearly given up of living.” Ilda Gomes Rosa, animal behaviour and animal welfare professor at the Lisbon University School of Veterinary Medicine, underlined that “all the training of animals in circuses is unnatural and makes it obvious that only through heavy violence it is possible to make tigers and elephants doing what they are forced to do in circuses”. “This video not only shows how anti-educational and unnatural is to keep and use animals in circuses, but it also shows the violence with which they are treated in circus acts, as we saw, and even more in trainings, as for the first time in Portugal has been shown to us”, she added.

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