The last 30 days working for animals

The months seem to fly by as we continue to work for animals across the world. Here are some of the highlights and progress, thanks to the work made possible by our supporters.

Smith is steadily returning to his old self after a hospital stay for a gastric problem. On his return to the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, lions Rey and Smith were delighted to see each other. Unfortunately, realizing something was wrong with his friend, protective Rey showed anxiety and tried to block the team giving Smith his meds.  It was moving to see Rey trying to protect his friend, but Smith needed his medication, so the boys had to be temporarily separated so that Smith could get better.  A new feeding camp was completed in record time – and fast enough to be used for Rey’s recovery after his three root canals on Friday. So, the boys are temporarily in their separate areas. Rey is already recovered, and Smith is getting better every day and it won’t be long before they are roaming Stephanides Habitat together again.

Other good news:  After nearly 13 years, Movistar will stop showing bullfights on its ‘Canal Toros’ channel. ADI and over 800 groups urged the company to halt the shows. Movistar say it was a business decision. Support for bullfighting continues to wane in Spain – a 2020 poll indicated less than 20% support this bloody spectacle. In Colombia, ADI’s team is campaigning for the House of Representatives to support a bill already approved by the Senate, which would phase out bullfights over three years.

Comedy series ‘Animal Control’ is being promoted with images of Joel McHale carrying a cougar cub, described as a “guest star”. Performing big cats are routinely separated from their mothers as babies to force them to be dependent on their trainer. Most live in isolation and ADI has repeatedly exposed violent training in suppliers of performing animals. The series, produced by Fox Entertainment Studios, has been made in Canada.  Contact Fox, Joel McHale, and the show’s producers, and urge them to NOT use wild animals in their show: @FoxTV on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; Joel McHale @joelmchale on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter; Dan Sterling @dansterl on Twitter.

The use of animal tests for the development of cosmetics, perfumes, etc., which use ingredients where effects are already known, has been banned in Brazil. Alternative non-animal methods must be used where efficacy or safety is proven to be unknown. A national bill approved by the Senate in December, will strengthen these restrictions by banning import and sale of tested products and awaits approval in Brazil’s House of Representatives.

More good news saw the European Citizens’ Initiative to end animal testing we have been promoting, validated with over 1.2 million signatures. The European Commission must now respond to the call for:  robust implementation of the EU cosmetics testing ban, full transition to non-animal methods for chemical safety tests, and a commitment to a plan for phasing out all animal experiments.

According to Norway’s Fur Farmers Association, the last fur farms have closed ahead of the 2025 ban. ADI has exposed the country’s fur industry; filming foxes being dragged from cages by their tails. In the UK, luxury department store Harvey Nichols says it will be completely fur-free by the end of the year. They previously went fur free in 2004 but started selling fur again nearly a decade later.

Meanwhile, after going fur-free in 2018, Gucci made the baffling decision to launch an advertising campaign featuring a hat made of real rabbit fur felt as a ‘Tribute to the Year of the Rabbit’! After being called out, Gucci quietly removed the products from stores.

Scotland has passed a new law to end the hunting of wild animals with a pack of hounds and close a loophole in existing legislation. This prevents trail hunting, which is used by hunts as a cover to continue pursuing and killing animals for sport, the Hunting with Dogs Bill goes further than current law in England and Wales and where legislation needs to be tightened to stop the hunters. 

ADI joined the protest at the Professional Bull Riders’ ‘SoCal Showdown’ competition in Los Angeles. Animals are routinely prodded, whipped, and electric shocked for this cruel sport, and can suffer debilitating injuries. We have been backing an LA ban on cruel rodeo devices being considered by LA City Council. Please urge the venue Crypto Arena not to host bull riding and other events using animals. Email If you live in Los Angeles, please leave a comment in support of the LA City rodeo device ban.

In February, two tigers escaped from private owners in South Africa. The first, Sheba, was shot after she wandered into a residential area. The second was a young tiger who a private security company claimed had been successfully darted and taken to a ‘sanctuary’ but refuse to disclose the animal’s whereabouts. Then a lioness being driven to a new location escaped, with the owner finding her crate empty on arrival. She was found and shot. ADIWS offered homes to each of the animals, urging that they be recaptured alive. Along with lion farms the private ownership of big cats in South Africa needs urgent attention.

President Biden signed the FDA Modernization Act 2.0 into law, which means the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will allow alternatives to animal testing for purposes of drug and biological product applications. This is potentially very significant, because since 1962, the FDA had required animal testing before human trials.

It’s been more than a year since the Kept Animals Bill, containing several Conservative Party manifesto promises including banning primate pets, made any progress in Parliament. ADI and others are calling on the Leader of the House of Commons and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to bring back the Bill.

The promised Animals Abroad Bill has disappeared, too. This would ban advertising of overseas cruel attractions, imports of hunting trophies and shark fins. MPs Angela Richardson, Henry Smith, and Christina Rees are working to secure these important measures through private members bills. Although these are very difficult to pass, progress is being made and The Hunting Trophy (Import Prohibition) Bill will have its report stage and third reading in the House of Commons on Friday 17 March. If you live in the UK, please contact your MP today and urge them to attend and support the bill.

By contrast, the Government’s Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill – where ADI and others have been calling for animal protection measures to be added – is now in its final parliamentary stages and likely to pass unamended.

ADI and a coalition of other groups are opposing plans to kill all vervet monkeys on Sint Maarten over the next three years. The non-native species is thought to have been brought to the island by European settlers as pets. A humane solution is being sought to save these animals, who never chose to be torn from their homeland and dragged across the globe.

Carden Circus has added two bison to its shows, which already feature elephants and camels. In the wild bison travel 2-3 miles a day and can cover 200 miles in a year. Elephants can average 15 or more miles a day, camels 20 or more miles in a day. This need for exploration and space is cruelly curtailed in the circus, where animals spend almost their entire year confined in small temporary encampments and endure extended periods in transporters. In the US, if you hear of a circus with animals coming to your town, email we can help you create awareness and secure a local ban.

All at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary were heartbroken to say goodbye to dear 18-year-old Iron who was suffering from aggressive stage 4 lung cancer. We rescued Iron from a circus in Colombia in 2014 with his lifelong companion OJ (Ojiclaro). Their years at ADIWS were the happiest of times, roaming their habitat, and roaring, with OJ watching over his friend. After OJ passed away two years ago, we began the process of introducing Iron to Bumba, who is from the same circus, but they did not develop a close bond – it seemed OJ was Iron’s true soulmate. While we all feel a huge sadness for the passing of this magnificent lion, it is so important to remember what a wonderful gift you gave Iron and the other animals at ADIWS. They left those tiny cages in South America to live as lions should in the African sunshine and every year of freedom was so precious.

A couple of weeks ago, Ruben had received his vaccinations, microchip and parasite treatment from Dr Harut Hovhannisyon at the bear sanctuary run by Armenia’s Foundation for the Protection of Wildlife and Cultural Assets.  He was issued with a health certificate, enabling his Armenia export permit and South Africa import permit to be progressed. As soon as we have the permits, we can book a flight to get him home to Africa where he can have a CT scan and treatment of his spinal and neurological issues can begin.  We have been working hard on a very special habitat at ADIWS designed to meet his health needs.

On a different note, AmazonSmile has sadly ended its fundraising while shopping initiative, so you can no longer raise funds for ADI shopping on Amazon. A huge “thank you” to everyone who did so.  It is a blow to lose this source of funding for our work, however there are some alternatives you can use to fundraise as you shop: in the UK, Easy Fundraising and in the US, Good Shop. Simply register, choose Animal Defenders International as your cause, and start shopping.

To contribute towards our campaigns and the type of work outlined above:
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