May 14, 2013, BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – TODAY, the Senate Commission V of Colombia amended and approved the draft law (Law 244/12) banning the use of animals in circuses, allowing Plenary to pass this initiative. The committee vote was seven in favor and none against.
Draft Law 244/12, which was amended to exclude domestic animals, had previously banned the use of all animals in circuses, but will prohibit all wild animals from circuses. The transition period for implementing the law was also increased to two years.
Undercover investigations of Animal Defenders International (ADI), exposing cruelty and suffering in circuses in Colombia, have horrified people throughout the country, leading to popular support for the ban.
Senator Juan de Jesus Cordoba, who presented the Bill, said: "The passage of this bill would avoid the problems of public health and safety caused by animal circuses in the country. This bill has broad support from the public, the Colombian authorities, celebrities and organizations."
Eduardo Peña, ADI Campaigns Coordinator in South America, said "We ask the plenary senators to approve this important initiative and we stress that this Bill is not against circuses. On the contrary, our goal is humane and human only shows, benefiting animals, people, the environment and giving greater entertainment. Similarly, we emphasize that circuses, in order to access the benefits of Arts Act 1493 of 2011, shall not include any species of animal in the show."
ADI's investigations in Colombia have revealed: the abuse of elephants, tigers, horses, llamas, and an elderly female chimpanzee screaming because of repeated blows to her face with a chain. Dogs, tigers and horses show abnormal stereotypied behavior, indicating that they suffer from deprivation and confinement. ADI is disappointed that the Bill will not protect the domestic animals which suffer in these circuses, but eliminating the suffering of wild animals will be an important step.
ADI President Jan Creamer said: "Our team has worked undercover in circuses all over the world, including Colombia, the USA, Europe, and we have consistently filmed and exposed the physical abuse and confinement of animals. If this Bill passes, Colombia will be the latest country to eliminate this suffering.”
The main author of the Bill, House Representative Augusto Posada said: "I am extremely happy with the step taken today by the Commission V Senate. In Colombia, we are recognizing biodiversity, respect for the environment and wildlife; the step taken recognizes that social change for the respect of others. I'm optimistic that the Senate Plenary will approve the project and finally, in Colombia, we will have circuses without animals."
Film and photographs of animals in circuses are available from ADI
Stop Circus Suffering Colombia campaign
The ADI campaign to “Stop Circus Suffering” in Colombia was launched in 2007 with a screening of our first investigation, the images being “some of the most sickening we have seen.” Since the launch of the investigations, bans have been introduced in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay.
National measures to restrict either all or wild animals in circuses are in place in over 20 countries, including: Austria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Malta, Slovakia, Sweden, Portugal, Taiwan, Singapore, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, Costa Rica, India and Israel.
Similar laws are being discussed in the United Kingdom, United States, Netherlands, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Norway.
Watch our South America “Unnatural Acts” video here.
Animal Defenders International
With offices in London, Los Angeles, and Bogota, ADI campaigns across the globe on animals in entertainment, providing technical advice to governments, securing progressive animal protection legislation, drafting regulations and rescuing animals in distress. ADI has a worldwide reputation for providing video and photographic evidence exposing the behind-the-scenes suffering in industry and supporting this evidence with scientific research on captive wildlife and transport. ADI rescues animals all over the world, educates the public on animals and environmental issues.