4 October 2005
ADI AND ANIMAL LAUNCH 'STOP CIRCUS
SUFFERING' CAMPAIGN IN PORTUGAL
ON WORLD ANIMAL DAY
Animal Defenders International (ADI) and ANIMAL launched a new campaign
in Portugal today - World Animal Day and the birthday of St Francis of
Assisi, the patron saint of animals. The press conference is taking
place at the Hotel Villa Rica in Lisbon.
This is a joint ANIMAL and ADI campaign to end the use of animals in
circuses and the launch represents the fourth 'Stop Circus
Suffering' country launch, following the UK, Chile, and Norway.
"This is the start of a very big campaign in Portugal to end the use
of animals in circuses here once and for all. No one who sees this
video will believe that circuses can continue," said Miguel Moutinho
of Portuguese animal welfare group, ANIMAL.
"We've exposed circuses all over the world and these are some of
the most shocking scenes we've ever seen," commented Tim Phillips,
Campaigns Director of ADI.
Acting on a tip off from a British tourist about a polar bear touring
with a Portuguese circus in the summer of 2003, ADI began a series of
investigations which ended in August this summer. An ADI field officer
obtained a job with a Portuguese circus where he filmed the brutality
behind the scenes. Although ADI obtained photographs of the polar
bear, the circus disappeared and was never found again. Since then ADI
has investigated 11 circuses and a travelling animal exhibition in what
is the most comprehensive study of Portuguese circuses ever undertaken.
ADI's field officers witnessed horses being whipped and slapped;
elephants aggressively manhandled using hooks, and disturbed
behaviours demonstrated by many animals - both wild and domestic.
ADI's investigation revealed:
Animals living in inadequate, deprived and unnatural conditions.
Severe confinement, a consistent factor with travelling animal circuses
all over the world, was compounded by lack of space to exercise or to
perform natural behaviours and lack of social interaction with their
own species. There was inadequate provision of food and water. Examples
of unnatural and inappropriate husbandry included baboons being kept
with mountain lions.
Violence used to control animals. For example, elephants were jabbed
and struck with metal elephant hooks; ponies were whipped about their
bodies during training; a donkey was being kicked; a pony was hit in
the face; a pig screamed whilst a worker tried to fit a collar;
elephants were struck about the head.
A range of animals displaying disturbed, repetitive behaviour. This
included swaying, pacing, weaving, and head bobbing, seen in bears,
chimpanzees, elephants, baboons, tigers and lions. Horses were trying
to bite each other and a bear was banging its head against the cage.
Circus workers failing to provide veterinary attention to injured
When circuses moved town, animals were kept in their trailers for
unnecessarily long periods - up to 16 times longer than a journey had
Poor standards of public safety (and indeed animal safety).
"These findings bring shame on Portugal," said Miguel Moutinho of
Portuguese animal welfare group, ANIMAL.
ADI and ANIMAL hosted the joint press conference at the Hotel Villa
Rica, Lisbon today. ANIMAL will then be undertaking the campaign in
Portugal with support from ADI. Both groups are optimistic that a major
push could see the end of the use of animals in Portuguese circuses.
Portuguese experts who are backing the campaign include: Augusta
Gaspar, university professor of ethology; Ilda Rosa, veterinary doctor
and university professor of animal behaviour and animal welfare;
Alexandra Pereira, also a veterinary doctor with a PhD in clinical
ethology, animal welfare and animal behaviour; Constança Carvalho, a
psychologist and researcher in ethology; Gonçalo Pereira, a
veterinary doctor and researcher in clinical ethology and animal
welfare; and Manuel Eduardo dos Santos, a biologist and university
professor of applied ethology, one of the top Portuguese experts in