Retired game show host Bob Barker came to the assistance of circus animals in South America by donating two million dollars to Animal Defenders International. ADI organized the largest big cat rescue in its history when it airlifted 25† former circus lions from Bolivia to Colorado recently. Barker’s donation helped fund that rescue project, and ADI’s efforts to make sure the new ban on circus animals in Bolivia is enforced effectively.
The Bolivian ban on circus animals actually went into effect in 2009, but enforcement across an entire nation, without new financial and human resources, is challenging. The legislation was under review for two years before it passed, because of resistance over the issue of bullfighting and whether it would be included. Secret video of cruelty to animals in circuses eventually persuaded the legislature to pass the law. Circuses were given one year to comply with the ban.
“Too much animal protection legislation is passed but not effectively implemented. We were determined that with Bob Barkerís support we would enable the Bolivian authorities to actually enforce this legislation. To set an example to countries all over the world that strong animal protection legislation can be vigorously enforced,” said Jan Creamer ADI President. (Source: Businesswire.com)
Some circuses turned over a number of their animals to ADI close to when the new ban went into effect. Others have resisted to the point ADI had to organize search and seizure operations in cooperation with local authorities.
Mr. Barker said, “Circuses are no place for animals, and lions and tigers should not be forced to live in small cages on the backs of trucks, or elephants forced to live in chains in the name of entertainment. I commend the Bolivian Government for taking this progressive step and hope that other South American countries, and indeed the USA, will follow suit. These animals have had a chance to start new lives in the US and a new era without circus suffering has started in Bolivia.” (Source: Businesswire.com)
Using animals for entertainment in circuses is not necessary. There are a number that do not use animals in shows. Cirque du Soleil started animal free and has remained so mainly, though they once used birds for a Vegas show, as PETA indicated. In 2011, they may earn gross revenues of one billion dollars.
It would be interesting if ADI could partner with Cirque du Soleil or other animal-free circuses to teach the ones that still do, how to operate without them. Also, eventually animals may be dropped from all circuses when consumers refuse to patronize them. You can do your part by only attending animal-free circuses. ADI is also working towards circus animal bans in Brazil and Peru.
Image Credit: wwarby