Alisa Manzelli, Global Animal

Following a six-year public campaign led by Animal Defenders International (ADI), Colombia announced a ban on wild animals in all circuses—traveling or stationary.

The Colombian Congress passed Bill 244,2012 after the release of critical evidence of significant animal suffering, including scientific reviews and undercover investigations, collected by investigators from ADI.

These poor conditions included “deprived environments, small cages, psychological suffering and the violent and brutal treatment of animals when being handled and trained.”

Although the law originally sought to ban all species from circuses, domestic animals were unfortunately excluded in the Senate.

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ADI led the campaign as part of the organization’s global initiative, Stop Circus Suffering, and had been working undercover in South American circuses for two years.

The campaign’s evidence shocked the entire continent and governments in South America have been quick to take action and demonstrate that such horrific treatment of animals is unacceptable.

Colombia joins a number of South American countries to introduce a ban on the use of exotic animals in circus acts, including Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru.

Jan Creamer, Chief Executive of ADI said, “We congratulate the Colombian Congress for approving this Bill and are delighted that Colombia has shown that animals should not suffer for our entertainment. ADI stands ready to assist with rescue and relocation of the animals, whenever the Government of Colombia requires assistance. After this momentous decision, it is important that these animals are allowed to live out their days, free from the circus and the suffering they have endured.”

Author of the bill, House Representative Augusto Posada, said, “This is good news for the country because with the prohibition of the use of animals in circuses we are taking a significant step in the conservation of wildlife, the awareness to preserve nature and thus demonstrate that as humans we can respect the status and dignity of other species. Those who still have animal shows will have two years to evolve and allow the return of these creatures to a suitable habitat and to create new forms of entertainment without the presence of animals.”

Colombian circuses will have two years to comply with the new legislation.