Circus animal video sparks new movement

July 7, 2008 6:14:13 PM PDT
Several Latin American countries are considering banning traveling circuses that use animals. Animal Defenders International kicked off a huge campaign here in the United States.

There is abuse toward circus animals that Animal Defenders International wants everyone to see. A video was given to ABC7 by the British group, which has offices in San Francisco, with the mission to end the suffering of animals in captivity.

"The aim of this video is to show that violence, confinement and suffering are endemic in the circus industry," said Tim Phillips with Animal Defenders International.

The group's hidden cameras show animals chained, and in cages for long periods of time.

The campaign has been successful in parts of Europe and Latin America.

The narrator on the video says this is a world the circuses never thought you'd see.

"In Peru it's been discussed currently in the congress a full ban of animals in circus and in Bolivia this will be done as well through a governmental decree," said Alexandra Cardenas, also a member of Animal Defenders International.

Traveling circuses with animals do not stop in San Francisco.

However the circus still comes to town in Oakland. For years, the venue has been the Coliseum. Any ban would have to come from the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum Authority.

Gail Steele is one of the commissioners.

"I really do care about and don't like animal abuse in any form. However I have to admit I like circuses and I have to say circuses provide an opportunity for urban children to get a sense of different kinds of animals," said Steele.

"That's what we hope to do with this report and video is to show the city supervisors what really goes on behind the curtains in the circus and I think this will give them the information they need to set up a ban," said Jan Creamer from Animal Defenders International.

Animal Defenders International will travel to three more U.S. cities to push for circus bans.


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