Bolivia bans all circus animals
-- Law defines use of animals in circus
an act of cruelty
-- 'Groundbreaking' move follows undercover inquiry
Use of wild and domestic animals have been banned in Bolivia, the first law
of its kind anywhere in the world, say animal welfare activists
Bolivia has enacted what animal rights activists are calling the world's
first ban on all animals in circuses.
A handful of other countries
have banned the use of wild animals in circuses, but the Bolivian ban
includes domestic animals as well.
The law, which states that the use
of animals in circuses "constitutes an act of cruelty", took effect on 1
July with operators given a year to comply, according to the bill's sponsor,
The law was proposed after an undercover investigation
by the nonprofit-making London-based group Animal Defenders International
(ADI) found widespread abuse in circuses operating in Bolivia.
said authorities aim to stop circus operators from killing animals they can
no longer use.
"About 50 animals are circulating in national and
international circuses at the moment [in Bolivia] and we want to negotiate
to make sure that the animals aren't eliminated," she said.
chief executive, Jan Creamer, called the law "groundbreaking".
group's investigators in Bolivia worked side-by-side with circus workers and
filmed disturbing mistreatment, she said, adding that poorly paid and badly
trained workers routinely abused animals. "If they wanted an animal to move,
their immediate reaction was a kick or a punch or a shove," she said.
She said circus animals suffer everywhere - including in developed
countries - from living in tight quarters and being constantly transported.
"It's rather as if you and I were asked to spend the rest of our lives
living in our bathroom," said Creamer. "In Bolivia there were three brown
bears being kept in tiny compartments just 2 by 3 metres."
sets fines for infractions and allows for animals to be confiscated by
authorities, added Flores.
LA PAZ, Bolivia -- An animal rights group says four lion cubs freed under
Bolivia's circus-animal ban are flying to California, where television
personality Bob Barker has helped fund their retirement.