Stop Circus Suffering

Holiday makers targeted in initiative to end circus suffering in the Algarve

British holidaymakers visiting Portugal’s Algarve region are being urged to take part in a huge anti-cruelty drive organised by Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Portugal’s largest animal protection group, ANIMAL.

Chimpanzee, Circo Soledad Cardinali

Leaflets printed in English and Portuguese will be distributed throughout the resort region urging visitors to boycott animal circuses. The estimated 2 million Britons who travel to Portugal each year will also be urged to sign petitions calling for the Algarve to become a cruelty free zone.

Last year a study by ADI and ANIMAL revealed that animal circuses congregate in the Algarve during the hottest weeks of the year in order to cash in on the tourists. ADI Field Officers working inside Portuguese circuses caught on video:

  • horses being whipped and hit;
  • elephants being jabbed with a metal spike around the eyes;
  • a donkey being kicked;
  • circus workers failing to provide veterinary attention to injured animals;
  • and lions, tigers, monkeys, chimps and other animals in deplorable conditions.

Tim Phillips, Campaigns Director of ADI said: “The suffering of animals in circuses in the Algarve during August is a huge problem, we have witnessed terrible violence and deprivation to animals. However, the two million British tourists visiting the country every year have a massive influence. They can help stamp out this animal suffering.”

Miguel Moutinho Director of ANIMAL says: “Tourists are a vital part of the Portuguese economy and are probably unaware of the huge sway that they can hold. These circuses are deliberately preying on tourists with children, many of whom visit the circus and are then horrified by the suffering they see. We want to ensure that tourists don’t visit the circus in the first place, and if tourists send a clear message to the authorities then this animal suffering will be stopped.”

The campaigners hope to convince municipalities to ban animal circuses – a tactic that has had huge success in the UK (with over 200 bans on animal circuses) and is gathering momentum as part of the worldwide Stop Circus Suffering campaign.

A joint ADI / ANIMAL Stop Circus Suffering campaign was launched in Portugal last year and has created considerable awareness of the issue. Earlier this year, the campaign had a major success when it persuaded every sponsor to withdraw from a TV celebrity circus show.


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