Stop Circus Suffering

ADI & Deputies call on Congress to ban animal circuses

ADI & Deputies gather at National Congress Palace to publicly condemn the continued use of animals in circuses and call for a ban on the cruel practice once and for all, as part of international “Week for the Animals.”

Brasil Congress event

At the National Congress Palace today, the global animal protection group Animal Defenders International (ADI) and Deputies gathered to publicly condemn the continued use of animals in circuses, and call for a ban on the cruel practice once and for all, as part of international “Week for the Animals.”

This follows the release by ADI of shocking footage from behind the scenes in Brazilian circuses, which showed a staggeringly high level of violence, confinement and deprivation.

A Federal Bill (Bill 7291 – 2006) is currently waiting to be adopted by the Chamber of Deputies, despite being selected for an emergency vote in November 2010, having been adopted unanimously in three Commissions already: Justice, Constitution and Citizenship; Environment and Sustainable Development and Education and Culture.

Deputies of all political parties visited the ADI stand with their distinctive four metre inflatable lion and listened intently to the arguments for implementing a ban, and saw the facts for themselves. Congress members stated that they were determined to get involved and wanted to send a clear message that it was time to end the suffering of animals in circuses once and for all.

ADI’s spokesperson in Brazil said: “ADI is delighted at the show of political support for our ‘Stop Circus Suffering’ campaign over the last few days. The political willpower is there and it is now up to the congress members to do the right thing for animal welfare and make this ban a reality.

“There is now a call from both the public and politicians to implement a ban and we now call on the President of the Chamber to include the Bill in the agenda of the Plenary as soon as possible. The sooner the Bill is voted on, the sooner animals will be free from circuses and their suffering can stop.”

Deputy Ricardo Izar (PV-SP) said: “We cannot wait anymore for this ban. A long time has passed since it had been proposed, and the animals in circus can’t wait to be free and stop suffering. “

Recently, during a meeting with ADI and other Brazilian animal protection groups, the president of the chamber, Marco Maia (PT-RS) said: “I will bring this bill to the meeting of the leaders (parties) and we will put it to be voted”.

ADI believes that shortly the bill that bans animals in circus in all Brazilian territories will be voted on.

ADI led an undercover investigation into circuses across South America and collected condemning evidence over a period of two years of animal abuse and cruelty, which culminated in launches of the Stop Circus Suffering South America reports and video in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. Further investigations resulted in more appalling footage being released in the video ‘Unnatural Acts’.

The sickening violence captured inside Brazilian circuses included:

Camels being punched, hit with a stick, and struck with a tent pole;
A solitary elephant chained by the legs barely able to move;
A child tormenting and wrestling a camel;
A camel forced to perform whilst pregnant and giving birth in temporary pen on concrete;
A solitary bear forced to live in a cage on the back of a lorry:
The Brazilian public strongly support the campaign for an animal-free circus industry in Brazil. Local bans on the use of wild and domestic animals in circuses are already in place in the districts of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Pernambuco, Paraiba, Rio Grande do Sul, Espirito Santo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Alagoas e Paraná.

South American countries have widely been praised for taking the lead in banning the use of animals in circuses. Earlier this year, Peru passed a law which included an article banning the use of all wild animals in circuses. This followed the 2009 ban on the use of all animals in circuses in Bolivia, and the subsequent record-breaking ‘Lion Ark’ rescue of 29 lions to an ADI funded sanctuary in the US. The Congresses in Colombia and Chile are also currently considering bans.

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