In October 2005 ADI launched a major Stop Circus Suffering campaign in Portugal, with our campaign partner ANIMAL.
The campaign was based on undercover evidence collected by ADI, in what was the most comprehensive study of Portuguese circuses ever undertaken. Our field officers witnessed: horses being whipped and slapped; elephants aggressively manhandled using hooks; and disturbed behaviours demonstrated by both wild and domestic animals.
Four years after our campaign was first launched, in 2009, the Portuguese government introduced legislation which effectively ended the use of wild animals in circuses.
Portugal is one of a growing number of countries that has introduced measures to end of the use of animals in circuses, either species specific or entirely. For a list of worldwide bans see here.
ADI is working to Stop Circus Suffering worldwide – please help us with a donation today. Thank you.
- Circuses in Portugal exposed: Read the ADI report into animal circuses in Portugal in English / Portuguese
- Photo gallery – inside circuses in Portugal
- Video – watch the video on YouTube
Decrees phasing out use of wild animals in circuses passed
Four years after the launch of our Stop Circus Suffering Portugal campaign, two Ministerial Decrees that effectively phase out the use of wild animals in circuses were passed. Decree 211/2009, banning the use of chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans from circuses, came into effect in September. Decree 1226/2009, banning the keeping and breeding of CITES listed species including lions, tigers, bears, seals, elephants and others, took effect in October 2009.
Legislation to ban animal circuses under discussion
The Assembly of the Republic of Portugal is discussing three Bills on animal circuses. The Green/Ecological Party’s Bill includes a ban on wild animals in circuses and a five year phase-out of domestic animals. The Left Block’s proposal would ban the use of wild animals. The Portuguese Communist Party’s Bill bans the use of great apes in circuses and has measures to prevent circuses from adding new wild animals to their acts. ADI, along with ANIMAL, will press for the strongest legislation.
ADI outraged at Portuguese Circus Victor Hugo Cardinalli after an elephant collapses
Portugal’s General Department of Veterinary (DGV) asked to investigate after local resident of Tavira witnesses the sudden collapse of one of the Victor Hugo Cardinalli Circus elephants.
Demo against violent circus in Lisbon
Portuguese campaign partner ANIMALwere able to make good use of ADI undercover evidence for a demonstration in Lisbon. The protest was outside Circo Victor Hugo Cardinali Circus who ADI field officers filmed violently and repeatedly jabbing an elephant around the eyes. Suzanne Chipperfield was presending her tiger act – the daughter of the convicted animal abuser Mary Chipperfield, who ADI exposed in Lisbon the previous year.
Portugal – code called for
Animals in circuses are included in a call for a broad Portuguese Animal Protection Code, placed before parliament, using evidence from ADI.
Freedom from life of circus misery
On 2nd February, following months of negotiation, two lions and a tiger rescued from a traveling circus in Portugal arrive safely at the ADI Rescue Centre.
Freedom from life of circus misery
Help us save two lions and a tiger
A rescue operation is underway to take two lions and a tiger from a life of misery with the circus in Portugal, to live out their lives at the new ADI Rescue Centre in South Africa.
Also see Operation Big Cat Rescue Appeal
Portuguese TV station uses circus animals in its celebration party
TV station “SIC” uses African elephants, tigers, lions, zebroid, camels, a python and other circus animals in parade in Lisbon to celebrate its 14th anniversary.
Holiday makers targeted in initiative to end circus suffering in the Algarve
British holidaymakers visiting Portugal’s Algarve region asked to take part in huge anti-cruelty drive. Leaflets printed in English and Portuguese urge visitors to boycott animal circuses.
Join worldwide condemnation for Portugal’s Celebrity Circus
Film production giant behind the ‘Big Brother’ show is being called on to drop a celebrity reality TV show set in a circus. The show from Endemol features celebrities performing with animals in Circo Victor Hugo Cardinali, the largest animal circus in Portugal.
Experts and celebrities support circus campaign
Following the launch of our Stop Circus Suffering campaign in Portugal, experts and celebrity supporters speak out.
Animal welfare experts and ethologists shocked by video presented by ADI and ANIMAL
Animal welfare experts and ethologists were shocked by video evidence, presented by ADI and ANIMAL, revealing violence and abuse inside Portuguese circuses.
Stop Circus Suffering campaign launched in Portugal on World Animal Day
ADI and ANIMAL launch joint campaign to end the use of animals in circuses in Lisbon.