Victory! Colombia passes wild animal circus ban

On Wednesday, the Colombian Congress approved Bill 244, 2012 making Colombia one of a handful of South American countries that prohibit the use of wild animals in circuses. Colombia is the latest addition to a very short list that includes Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru.

After years of scientific study and tireless campaigning to increase awareness and facilitate legal action regarding the abuse of wild animals in circuses, concerned organizations are now rejoicing. Their hard work and dedication have finally paid off.

Conserving Colombian wildlife

The use of circus animals for human entertainment goes way back in time. Many people consider that a circus would not be complete if there are no animals performing unusual and amazing tricks. Even in modern circuses, the use of wild animals is still popular. For animal rights activists, the use of animals in a very unsettling environment such as a circus poses countless dangers to their health, and may even prove to be fatal for the creatures.

Leading the campaign to put an end to the continued abuse of wild animals in circuses is ADI, also known as the Animal Defenders International. This organization has been closely monitoring circus activities for the past two years. Jan Creamer, CEO of ADI stated in a recent interview that their organization is ready to help the Colombian government in terms of relocation and rescue of the wild animals being held captive in circuses today. Creamer also extended her deepest gratitude to the Colombian Congress for approving the bill.

Neglect and abuse

ADI has infiltrated circuses in Colombia in order to gather information and evidence regarding the handling of the circus animals. According to ADI, their investigation gathered adequate and solid proof of neglect and abuse. They found out that the animals are routinely being deprived of basic living necessities. Their reports often described brutal treatment while the animals are undergoing training. It was also discovered by the group that circus animals lack sufficient space to move especially the big mammals due to small cages. Moreover, some animals were assigned to unsuitable environments.

Two years to comply

Augusto Posada, a member of the Colombian House of Representatives and the author of the bill was delighted with the concurrence of the majority of his co-legislators regarding his initiative to conserve wildlife. Posada stated that the passing of the Bill is great news for Colombia. For him, it means that the country and its people are aware of the importance of conserving wildlife by prohibiting animal acts in circuses.

Posada clarified circuses still engaged in using wild animals are given two years to comply with the new legislation. These Colombian circuses are given enough opportunity to return the animals to their natural habitat within the agreed time frame.

ADI thanks supporters

ADI humbly thanked all those who helped in the process of having the bill approved. Eduardo Peña, ADI’s campaign coordinator expressed gratitude to all the national animal protection organizations that supported the passing of the bill. He also thanked everyone who joined in the fight to end animal suffering from celebrities, politicians, and academics. According to Peña, it is now time for circuses to exclusively harness human talents and put the animals back to where they truly belong.

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