Animal Defenders International; Stars Set To Attend Lion Ark Gala Screening

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“I would love see this documentary, but live too far away, I hope it will be shown around England, as I think everyone, not just animal lovers should see it!! Especially those who aren’t aware of the miserable, repetitive & poor conditions, performing animals endure in circuses!!” I am totally ashamed of the English Government, for not fighting & implementing the ban on wild animals in circuses; as they promised. So many other countries have managed to do it, I can’t see any problem, as to  why it has not been in effect sooner; like the British people were promised!!”

December 1, 2014

Bill Oddie: Profile

Special guests including Bill Oddie, Alexei Sayle, Gillian McKeith, Celia Hammond and Bollywood actress Sofia Hayat are set to attend a glitzy gala screening and celebrity fundraiser in Leicester Square on Saturday December 6th for LION ARK, the multi-award winning critically-acclaimed documentary about the rescue of 25 lions from Bolivian circuses.

WHEN: Saturday December 6th, 6pm
WHERE: Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BY

Following sell out screenings at film festivals around the world, LION ARK is now screening in cinemas across the UK.

More action adventure style than traditional documentary, feel-good movie LIONARK charts one of the world’s most ambitious and daring animal rescues, as a team from Britain’s Animal Defenders International (ADI) swoops on eight illegal circuses spread across Bolivia following a ban.

The story begins when ADI secures a ban on animal circuses in Bolivia following a two-year undercover investigation across South America. The shocking findings lead to public outrage and calls for action across the continent. Bolivia is the first to act. Now ADI must help the government enforce the law. The team journey across a vast, hostile terrain to track down the illegal circuses defying the new law, save the animals and bring them to safety, and a joyous finale sees 25 lions airlifted to freedom in the US.

LION ARK Producer and rescue leader Jan Creamer said: “People have been gripped by the way Lion Ark covers a serious issue about saving animals from circuses, but in a uniquely exciting and enjoyable way. The British public can be very proud that the seeds of this historic operation were sown at Animal Defenders International’s headquarters in London, which makes Lion Ark’s West End gala screening a very special event indeed.”

A smash hit on the international film festival circuit, LION ARK is told through live action interviews, in the moment, as events unfold. This is up close and personal, in the thick of the action; you are as close as you can get to these animals and to understanding their life in the circus and feel the fear and joy of the rescuers as they journey through their incredible mission.

LION ARK Director Tim Phillips said: “The response to Lion Ark has been fantastic, receiving standing ovations, armfuls of awards and sell-out shows around the world and we are looking forward to welcoming so many celebrity supporters at the gala screening. This special event is open to the public so that everyone has a chance to enjoy the uplifting animal magic of Lion Ark on the big screen in London’s Leicester Square, and meet the rescue team directly from their latest mission in Peru.”

A similarly ambitious rescue operation – Spirit of Freedom – is now underway in Peru, where ADI is once again assisting authorities to enforce an animal circus ban, having successfully secured legislation. ADI currently has 30 lions, 9 primates and several other animals in its care, and audiences will hear the very latest news from rescue team leaders LION ARK Director Tim Phillips and Producer Jan Creamer, who have come straight from their latest mission to hold Q&A sessions following each screening across the UK.

The LION ARK rescue mission was backed by legendary and Emmy award-winning US TV ‘Price is Right’ game show host Bob Barker and CSI actress Jorja Fox (‘Sara Sidle’), whose company Seafox Productions is an Associate Producer and both appear in the film. Bob Barker’s support enabled the rescue team to empty Bolivia of its suffering circus animals and build new homes for them in the US.

LION ARK has recently been signed into distribution for television, video on demand,DVD / Blu Ray and in-flight entertainment with ITV Studios Global Entertainment, one of the world’s leading distribution companies which has its own channels in Europe, Asia, Africa and Middle East, including flagship ITV broadcasting in 40 countries.

Since opening at Raindance, London and Mill Valley Film Festival, California, LIONARK has taken the film festival circuit by storm with sell out shows, six awards, official selections for 14 prestigious film festivals, and an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding International Motion Picture.

Tickets for LION ARK screenings at UK cinemas including the West End gala and celebrity fundraiser are on sale now. Tickets for the gala start at just £11: click here for more.

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Victory! Colombia Passes Wild Animal Circus Ban

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The Colombian Congress today passed Bill 244,2012 to end the use of wild animals in both static and traveling circuses, after a six-year public campaign following the release of critical evidence of animal suffering collected by investigators from Animal Defenders International (ADI).

ADI led the campaign as part of its global Stop Circus Suffering initiative and the organization expressed its delight that the years of undercover investigations, scientific reviews, public debates and awareness-raising days had resulted in the ban being secured.

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.”

House Representative Augusto Posada, author of the Bill, 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.”

Eduardo Peña, ADI campaigns coordinator for Latin America: “Our warmest thanks and congratulations go to more than 50 national animal protection organizations who helped with this bill, and of course the individuals, celebrities, academics, officials, congressmen, artists and non-animal circuses who joined with us to stop animal suffering in circuses in Colombia. Now circuses have the opportunity to strengthen human talent, support the Colombian Government’s ethical position and evolve shows that respect human values and protect nature.”

ADI investigators worked undercover in South American circuses for two years filming, photographing and takes notes on the deprived environments, small cages, psychological suffering and the violent and brutal treatment of animals when being handled and trained.

The evidence shocked the continent and governments in South America have been swift to take action to show that such treatment of animals is unacceptable in civilized society.

The ADI campaign was launched in Colombia in 2007 with a screening of its first investigation, the images from which were some of the most sickening ADI investigators have ever seen. Since the launch of the investigations, bans have been introduced in Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay.

Bill 244, 2012 sought to prohibit all animals in circuses, however domestic species were excluded in the Senate. Circuses will have two years to comply with the new legislation.

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Loving dog Who Survived Many Hardships Waiting Nearly A Year For Loving Home

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Lucy is an American Staffordshire Terrier that endured unimaginable hardship when she was found on the streets of Colombia over a year ago. She appears to have been repeatedly used as a breeding dog and when she was found by a Good Samaritan, her nose and jaw were badly broken and she was starving. 

Lucy was taken in by a kind foster family for several months in Colombia, where she regained her strength. When a volunteer at Stray from the Heart in New York heard about Lucy’s plight the woman arranged for her to fly to New York where she has been under the care of the rescue ever since.

Lucy’s facial bones never healed properly from her injuries, but thankfully a specialist said she is in no pain and she has no problems eating or drinking. As Lucy was not suffering, Stray from the Heart decided against putting her through the extensive surgery, which would basically have been cosmetic.

Since arriving in the United States, Lucy has gone to rehabilitation and her foster family in Connecticut say she’s a laid back and easy going dog. Despite all the abuse she suffered, she loves people and really loves small dogs. Maybe its because they remind her of all the puppies she gave birth to in the past.

It’s been nearly a year since Lucy arrived in New York, and she’s still waiting for a forever home and for that special family who will look past her unique features and see her loving personality shining through.

Stray from the Heart will adopt Lucy out to a home on the East Coast and to a home where she’s the one and only or with small dogs. Details on who to contact if you, or someone you know may be interested in adopting Lucy are on Lucy’s Petfinder listing.

“The unimaginable horror this poor dog must have faced, at the hands of humans. But as usual in these cases, the dog is willing to forgive because they have just the hugest of hearts, bursting with love for those they will call ‘Master’.  Well I think Lucy deserves more than a ‘Master’ she deserves to be loved as an equal”.

“Lucy deserves to be given back all the years, that she probably went without any love…you would think dogs like this, breeding dogs, who spend the majority of time in a cage they can barely turn around in, would snap at any human hand. When breeding dogs are no longer viable, they are turfed out to anyone that will have them. It was probably a mate doing then a favour by taking her, perhaps they decided Lucy might be good for something, a guard dog? Obviously not, so unwanted & beaten, they probably, threw her out too!  If I had gone through such a terrible life of trauma, I wouldn’t be so quick to forgive…nor forget!!”

“Which is why dog’s like this are going to be such a joy to own. I would gladly love to have Lucy if my situation was different! Lucy needs someone who can look at her & love all of her, not someone who doesn’t like her face…I think her face is adorable & so deserving of true love, someone to cuddle up on the bed with, watch TV next to someone on the settee. I sincerely hope & pray Lucy gets a family that can give her a lifetime of love; she deserves nothing less…if you can’t love that face, your not going to be able to love the dog!”

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4,000 monkeys saved as Colombian vivisector loses wild capture permit

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Colombia: ADI has described the decision by the Administrative Tribunal of Cundinamarca to revoke permits to capture wild owl monkeys for malaria experiments as a “breakthrough for animal protection and conservation”.

The Tribunal ruled that research on owl (night) monkeys, by Manuel Elkin Patarroyo, breached Colombia’s commitment to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

The permits, planned to run until 2015, would have allowed Patarroyo to trap 4,000 primates for experiments related to malaria vaccine at the Institute of Immunology Foundation of Colombia (FIDIC).

ADI undercover investigators secured video footage of the laboratory’s monkey trapping operation along the Amazon. The ADI video shows trappers searching the forests by night for owl monkeys; the trees netted and the tiny monkeys, unable to escape, are torn from their homes; terrified and screaming, they are pushed into sacks for the journey up river to the laboratory. The team also filmed inside FIDIC where the monkeys are kept inside tiny barren, metal cages, a shocking contrast to their native forest homes.

Jan Creamer, ADI Chief Executive said: We are delighted that the Tribunal has taken decisive action, preventing the horrific suffering of thousands of monkeys and the potential devastation of wild populations. We hope that the next step will be to end these cruel experiments once and for all.”

In the ruling, the Tribunal criticised the Ministry of Environment for failing to exercise controls concerning the hunting and scientific study of primates. It further stated that because import permits for owl monkeys of the species Aotus nancymae were not required, this fuelled a trade for these primates, in contravention of CITES regulations.

The Tribunal found that there had also been a number of anomalies in permissions granted to Patarroyo dating back to 1984, which included irregularities in permit procedures and breach of obligations and prohibitions of Colombia’s National Resources Code.

As a result of the Tribunal, disciplinary action against officials at the Ministry of Environment is now being initiated. FIDIC and the Corporation for Sustainable Development of Southern Amazonia (Corpoamazonia) were also sanctioned.

Researcher Angela Maldonado, lawyer Gabriel Vanegas and ADI submitted evidence to the tribunal; Angela is Project Director of Fundacion Entropika, whose educational and census work with local communities, with ADI funding, has reduced the hunting of owl monkeys in the Amazon. The unique work by ADI undercover investigators and Angela’s study team has assisted her work in the region to protect owl monkeys.

  • Read about ADI’s investigation into South American monkey trade here
  • Watch our Save the Primates video here (the owl monkey trapping and research footage can be viewed at 3:40-5:05)
  • Make a donation to support our investigations here

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Paraguay bans wild animals in circuses

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ADI applauds Paraguay for becoming the latest country to ban the use of wild animals in circuses under Resolution 2002/12 passed this week by the Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment (Secretaría del Medio Ambiente).

Since ADI launched a major undercover investigation of animals in circuses in South America in 2007, a series of bans have swept across the continent as Governments have acted decisively to end the suffering of these animals. Bans are in place in Bolivia, Peru and now Paraguay. Legislation for the ban passed its second reading in Colombia earlier this year and legislation for a ban is well advanced in Brazil.

Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International“We congratulate the Paraguayan Government for taking this progressive stand and everyone who has worked to secure this ban. This confirms how people all over the world are realising that it is no longer acceptable to confine, deprive and abuse animals in the name of entertainment.”

Colombia – Bogota prohibits the use of animals in circuses

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ADI is delighted to announce that the Plenary Council of Colombia’s capital city Bogota has voted overwhelmingly to ban the use of animals in circuses.

The Development Plan of the Capital of the Republic, which is a roadmap for the next four years of Mayor Gustavo Petro’s administration, prohibits all animals in circuses. The plan also includes measures for humane stray control.

ADI congratulates Mayor Petro, the city councillors who made this possible, especially Councilman Roberto Saenz, and the local animal organisations and citizens who worked alongside ADI to achieve this ban.

ADI is in discussion with the authorities to establish what steps will be taken if circuses ignore the ban. Bans have already been passed in Medellin and Pereira.

The ban follows a vote earlier in the month in Congress to end the use of animals in circuses nationwide.

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Circus Abuse & Suffering – Unnatural Acts (Columbia)

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Animal abuse is the same, no matter what language is spoken.  You do not need to understand what is being said, you can see  in circuses, it’s a universal language of abuse, beatings etc. These animals have no life, forced to perform degrading un-natural tricks, just to entertain humans.  I am personally ashamed to live in the UK,  our Government ignored 95% of the public, who wanted a ban on wild animals in circuses.  Instead, a licence scheme will be implemented, which will do little if anything, to save the animals from their cramped & abusive lives!”

Published on 30 May 2012 by 

Animal Defenders International‘s investigation into animals in circuses in South America. Caught on film: tigers beaten repeatedly and having stage props hurled at them during training; elephants chained, punched, beaten; tigers and monkeys living in trucks, in deplorable conditions; disturbed, stereotypical behaviour in horses, camels, and a poor baboon pacing on a short chain. Screenings were shown in the Congresses of Peru (where a ban on wild animals in circuses is now in place), Brazil and Colombia.

To find out more about our global Stop Circus Suffering campaign, please visit

Worldwide circus bans

Posted: 27 March 2006. Updated: 10 May 2012


Austria: Nationwide ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Nationwide ban on all animals in circuses
Croatia: Nationwide ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.
Czech Republic: Nationwide ban on the use of certain species in circuses.
Denmark: Nationwide ban on the use of certain species in circuses.
Estonia: Nationwide ban on the use of wild-born animals in circuses.
Finland: Nationwide ban on the use of certain species in circuses.
Greece: Nationwide ban on all animals in circuses
Hungary: Nationwide ban on the use of wild caught animals in circuses, the purchase and training of elephants and primates for circus performances and the purchase, training and use of CITES (Appendix 1) listed species in circuses.
Ireland: Local bans on the use of animals in circuses in Cork and Fingal.
Poland: Nationwide ban on the use of wild-born animals in circuses.
Portugal: Nationwide ban restricting the use of great apes in circuses and the acquisition and breeding of CITES listed species.
Spain: Local bans on the use of wild animals in circuses in several towns including Barcelona.
Sweden: Nationwide ban on the use of certain species in circuses.
UK: Over 200 local authorities have bans on animal circuses (more than two thirds of these ban all performing animals, the remainder ban just wild animals). A Government commitment to ban the use of wild animals in circuses – this is yet to be enacted.


USA: 35 partial or full bans on circus animals in municipalities in the US, in 18 states. These include AK, Sherwood, CA, Corona, CA, Encinitas, CA, Huntington Beach, CA, Irvine, CA, Marin County, CA, Pasadena, CA, Rohnert Park, CA, Santa Ana, CO, Boulder, CT, Stamford, FL, Hollywood, FL, Pompano Beach, FL, Tallahassee, FL, Clearwater, GA, Fulton, HI, Maui County, IL, Collinsville, KA, Douglas County, MA, Braintree, MA, Quincy, MA, Revere, MA, Somerville, MA, Weymouth, MO, Richmond, NC, Orange County, NC, Chapel Hill, NY, Greenburgh, NY, Southhampton, SC, Chester, TX, Simonton, VT, Burlington, WA, Port Townsend, WA, Redmond, WI, Green Bay.
Canada: Local bans on the use of animals in circuses in 27 municipal jurisdictions including Vancouver.


Argentina: Local bans on the use of wild animals in circuses in over 20 cities including a ban in the city of Buenos Aires.
Bolivia: Nationwide ban on the use of wild and domestic animals in circuses.
Brazil: Local bans on the use of wild and domestic animals in circuses in the districts of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Pernambuco, Paraiba, Rio Grande do Sul, Espiritu Santo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Alagoas and a number of bans in cities within another four Brazilian states.
Chile: Local bans on the use of wild and domestic animals in circuses in the city of Santiago.
Costa Rica: Nationwide ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.
Peru: Nationwide ban on the use of wild animals in circuses as well as a local ban on all animals in Magdalena del Mar.


Australia: Local bans on the use of animals in circuses in several towns including Parramata and Lismore.


India: Nationwide ban on the use of certain species in circuses.
Israel: Nationwide ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.
Singapore: Nationwide ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.
Taiwan: Nationwide prohibition on the import or export of protected wildlife for circuses.

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