Bolivia first country in the world to ban wild and domestic animals from travelling circuses

2 July 2009

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is delighted that Bolivia’s President Evo Morales has signed a new law to end the use of wild and domestic animals in travelling circuses.

After a successful passage through the Congress, the Bill passed the final hurdle, awaiting the President’s signature, and the new Act is expected to be published in the following weeks.

The law, tabled by Congresswoman Ximena Flores of Potosi, arose as a result of evidence gathered during a disturbing undercover investigation by ADI that included: lions confined in a tiny cage on the back of a truck (two were pregnant but continued to perform); a mandrill confined in a tiny cage; three brown bears kept in tiny compartments measuring just 2.5x3m, inside a cage on the back of a truck ­– their only exercise was the walk to and from the ring for their short performance. Lack of safety barriers were noted, as the animals were made to dance, play dead and ride a bicycle. The findings of the investigation were presented to the Congress together with ADI’s report on the scientific evidence of suffering of animals in travelling circuses, ‘The Science on Suffering’.

The new law bans the use of wild and domestic animals in circuses in the Bolivia, as their conditions and confinement it is considered an act of cruelty. The circuses will be allowed one year to adapt their shows to a humans-only programme and during this time, the government will issue regulations on confiscation and pecuniary sanctions for any breaches of the law.

This is the first national law to ban the use of both domestic and wild animals in circuses. So far, similar bans on animal use in travelling circuses in Costa Rica, Sweden, Finland and Denmark only prohibit the use of wild animals or certain species.

In recognition of President Morales’ stand on the issue and his government’s prompt action, ADI has presented the Bolivian government with the Toto Award on animal protection and conservation.
ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer, “This is a truly historic day for circus animals. The undercover investigations, the scientific research and the hard work of our supporters in Bolivia has made a difference for animals that will reach around the world. Bolivia is the first country to ban animal circuses in South America and the first worldwide to ban both domestic and wild animals in circuses. We applaud the President Evo Morales for setting the highest standard for animal protection for South America, which the rest of the world now needs to follow. We also salute the efforts of Congresswoman Flores and all the local organizations and who along with ADI worked tirelessly to ensure that the bill became a law.”

PRESS RELEASE

 

For immediate release: May 14, 2009
Bolivia bans animal circuses

Animal Defenders International (ADI) is delighted that a ban on the use of animals in circuses is within reach in Bolivia. A bill proposing a ban was passed in the Plenary of the Bolvian Senate yesterday.
The Bill, tabled by Congresswoman Ximena Flores, representative of the Department of Potosi, was previously approved by Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies and the Commission of Sustainable Development in the Senate. The Bill will be presented to President Evo Morales for signature, to become law.
The launch of Stop Circus Suffering campaign in Bolivia uncovered a disturbing insight behind the scenes of Bolivia's circus industry.
ADI's field officers worked undercover in the circuses and observed:
* Lions confined in a tiny cage on the back of a truck - the adults left the cage for just ten minutes each day to perform for the show. A lion cub remained permanently in the cage. During the show, the animals were forced to jump through a ring of fire. Two of the lionesses were pregnant, but continued to perform.
* Three brown bears were kept in three compartments of a beastwagon, each measuring approx 2.5 x 3m. Their only exercise was the walk to and from the ring for their short performance. The same bear act had previously been with a circus in Peru. There was no safety barrier between the audience and the three brown bears which were made to dance, play dead and ride a bicycle.
* A mandrill kept in a small wire mesh cage - approx 1.5 x 1.5m.
The Bolivian public was horrified by the conditions the animals were forced to endure. A year after the launch of the investigation, several municipalities introduced animals circus bans in El Alto, La Paz, Santa Cruz, Tiquipaya and Cochabamba. In May 2008, these bans faced a major test when a Las Vegas, USA, based magic show featuring big cats, The Fercos Brothers, planned to appear. ADI and local animal protection groups worked together to uphold the bans and succeeded.
The recently approved Bill will be returned to the Chamber of Deputies for the approval of any amendments made by the Senate. After that it will be remitted to President Evo Morales to receive Presidential assent. ADI will continue lobbying intensely to ensure that this piece of legislation is passed.
ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, "These moves in Bolivia sets an essential precedent for South America, demonstrating that legislation to put an end to circus suffering is possible. The Bolivian Congress has set the highest positive example for South America, which the rest of the world now needs to follow. We salute the efforts of all the local organizations and Congresswoman Flores who along with ADI did not rest until they made sure that the Senate approved the Bill."

For immediate release: May 14, 2009
Bolivia bans animal circuses
Animal Defenders International (ADI) is delighted that a ban on the use of animals in circuses is within reach in Bolivia. A bill proposing a ban was passed in the Plenary of the Bolvian Senate yesterday.
The Bill, tabled by Congresswoman Ximena Flores, representative of the Department of Potosi, was previously approved by Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies and the Commission of Sustainable Development in the Senate. The Bill will be presented to President Evo Morales for signature, to become law.
The launch of Stop Circus Suffering campaign in Bolivia uncovered a disturbing insight behind the scenes of Bolivia's circus industry.
ADI's field officers worked undercover in the circuses and observed:
* Lions confined in a tiny cage on the back of a truck - the adults left the cage for just ten minutes each day to perform for the show. A lion cub remained permanently in the cage. During the show, the animals were forced to jump through a ring of fire. Two of the lionesses were pregnant, but continued to perform.
* Three brown bears were kept in three compartments of a beastwagon, each measuring approx 2.5 x 3m. Their only exercise was the walk to and from the ring for their short performance. The same bear act had previously been with a circus in Peru. There was no safety barrier between the audience and the three brown bears which were made to dance, play dead and ride a bicycle.
* A mandrill kept in a small wire mesh cage - approx 1.5 x 1.5m.
The Bolivian public was horrified by the conditions the animals were forced to endure. A year after the launch of the investigation, several municipalities introduced animals circus bans in El Alto, La Paz, Santa Cruz, Tiquipaya and Cochabamba. In May 2008, these bans faced a major test when a Las Vegas, USA, based magic show featuring big cats, The Fercos Brothers, planned to appear. ADI and local animal protection groups worked together to uphold the bans and succeeded.
The recently approved Bill will be returned to the Chamber of Deputies for the approval of any amendments made by the Senate. After that it will be remitted to President Evo Morales to receive Presidential assent. ADI will continue lobbying intensely to ensure that this piece of legislation is passed.
ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, "These moves in Bolivia sets an essential precedent for South America, demonstrating that legislation to put an end to circus suffering is possible. The Bolivian Congress has set the highest positive example for South America, which the rest of the world now needs to follow. We salute the efforts of all the local organizations and Congresswoman Flores who along with ADI did not rest until they made sure that the Senate approved the Bill."