Another Month on the frontline for animals

Another month of ADI campaigns and activity around the world has flashed by. Here’s the news on how together, we are changing the world for animals:

Two decades ago, ADI sent a team to investigate the circus industries of Spain and Portugal. Our investigators moved across the country, monitoring and working inside circuses, securing horrific images of elephants being jabbed in the face with bullhooks, animals whipped and beaten, a dead tiger was dragged from its cage, beheaded, and skinned in front of his cage mates. NOW THE MISERY IS OVER. ADI’s campaign in Portugal won the first ban, and now Spain’s new animal welfare law includes a ban on wild animals in circuses – joining 50 other countries. Isn’t it time the US joined them? Support the reintroduction of TEAPSPA to prohibit wild animal acts in the US.

Two rescued wild tortoises have joined our native leopard tortoise population on the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, after their rescue from wildlife traffickers. Stolen from the wild, the SPCA saved the tortoises when they were up for sale on the internet and asked ADI to help.
Did you know: ADI has rescued and returned to the wild more tortoises and turtles than any other species (mainly in seizures from traffickers with Peru wildlife officials)?

A symbolic victory saw the 300-year-old Hudson’s Bay Company, once the heart of the global fur industry, go fur-free. In Massachusetts, Lexington became the state’s sixth municipality to ban the sale of new fur products, and in Hawaii, ADI is backing a fur sales ban which has passed the state Senate and House and now goes to conference, where the House and Senate must agree on the amendments made to the bill. Other state bills to ban fur sales are being supported in Washington DC, New York, and Massachusetts. If you live in one of these states, find out how you can take action here. In Europe, the European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) to end fur farming and stop the sale of farmed fur products closed with 1.7 million signatures. The European Commission must now respond.

For the third reading of the UK Hunting Trophy (Import Prohibition) Bill, we joined Ranulph Fiennes, Charles Dance, Vicki Michelle, Peter Egan, Felicity Kendal, Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, and Marc Abraham at a parliamentary reception with Ban Trophy Hunting. The bill was passed and moves to the House of Lords.
The same day, The Animals (Low Welfare Activities Abroad) Bill, to stop UK advertising of cruel animal attractions overseas like bullfights and elephant rides, also passed its third reading.

ADI’s worldwide investigations of monkey factory farms has exposed miserable welfare, brutality and how western lab importers seem to turn a blind eye. In another twist, eight people, including two Cambodian officials, have been charged in the US with smuggling wild endangered monkeys for experiments and passing them off as captive bred. Now the US Department of Justice has subpoenaed Charles River Laboratories in its investigation into Cambodia’s primate supply chain. In addition, Quebedeaux’s Transport has been shut down by the US Department of Transportation for illegally transporting monkeys. Last year one of the company’s trucks crashed and macaques imported from Mauritius escaped, later captured, and killed.

ADI investigators and lawyers have been working intensely in Ayacucho, Peru to prevent the return of the horrific Jalatoro bull run. ADI previously exposed the event, where drunken, baying mobs punched, kicked, spat at, and tormented terrified young bulls in the streets. Last year’s ban was a huge victory, but ADI learned of plans to stage it anyway this year. ADI Peru has been speaking with members of Congress and officials and held press conferences with former Congressman Urquizo (instrumental on Peru’s animal circus ban) and community leaders, to stop the event proceeding. The campaign appears to have been successful, but ADI is now investigating reports of small, illegal events in the region.

A new anti-bullfighting mural in Bogota will greet members of Congress when they return after the Easter recess. ADI Colombia and Colombia sin Toreo coalition lobbied and staged events at Congress until recess and will be back when Congress resumes work. The bill to ban bullfighting was passed by the Senate and is supported by President Gustavo Petro. It now goes before the House of Representatives. This is a huge battle, with Congress divided by a powerful lobby working to block the ban.

As part of a study of Africa, I had a 45-minute Zoom call with pre-k and kindergarten students from New Jersey’s Lacordaire Academy. The students were able to get up close with our Cusco family (Kiara, Amazonas, Scarc, and Mahla) as I talked through their stories, rescues, and characters. They also got to meet our Resident Welfare Team, who care for our residents every day. Education and awareness are a huge part of ADIWS work, and later this year we will be ready to start the development of the Jean Warner Sprague Education Center, where we will welcome South African schools to study animals and the environment. We are always happy to do live talks to students like this from ADIWS. Get in touch if you are interested.

The UK’s Online Safety Bill aims to place more responsibility on social media platforms to moderate/restrict illegal and harmful content to protect children and vulnerable people. We’re calling on the government to include online animal cruelty content within its scope. This can include dog fighting, to terrorizing animals in fake rescues, to staging puppies or kitten being eaten by snakes. A study has shown children who witness animal cruelty are up to 8 times more likely to abuse animals themselves.

Pima County Fair in Arizona (April 20-30) is to feature a tiger show, sea lions, petting zoos, and a reptile show. Email them at and If you’re on Facebook message them here.

A ban on live animal exports and the keeping of primates as pets was promised by the UK Government and the Kept Animals Bill was introduced to parliament in 2021. However, the Bill has not moved since May 2022. ADI is calling for the Leader of the House of Commons and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to bring back the Bill. Please contact your MP to press the government to include online animal cruelty in the Online Safety Bill.

After five decades living in Miami Seaquarium’s tiny tank, the company has announced that 57-year-old orca Lolita could be returned to the ocean. The plan is to airlift Lolita to a sea pen in the waters off Washington state, where she will learn to feed herself again, under 24-hour care. Whether it will be possible for her to learn to fend for herself or not, a sea pen will hopefully be a vast improvement on a concrete tank – perhaps she may be able to communicate with other orcas. Her loneliness is hard to imagine. We await developments on this desperately sad story.

With a million species threatened with extinction, the world is facing a biodiversity crisis. Yet, since the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) came into force in 1975, wildlife trade has increased ten-fold. In a joint letter, ADI and others have called on CITES Parties and Secretariat to play a more effective role in tackling the crisis.

More positively, the UN High Seas Treaty has been signed, to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030. This provides a legal framework to establish and manage marine protected areas in the high seas and could prohibit or limit commercial fishing, oil or gas drilling, and other damaging human activities to protect the ocean from biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.

Held on April 24 each year, World Day for Laboratory Animals (Lab Animal Day / World Day for Animals in Laboratories) commemorates the suffering of animals in laboratories and it’s an opportunity to show the problems of species differences and how advanced scientific non-animal methods are the way forward for research and testing. This World Day we’ll be calling for positive change to help lab animals and hope we can count on your support! Find out more here. Contact your elected representative and ask them to support a move to advanced technology to replace animals – better for humans and animals.

In a horrific development, there are plans to establish the world’s first industrial octopus farm in Gran Canaria, Spain, with plans to rear a million animals. These complex, intelligent, and sentient animals will suffer terribly. ADI supports the call for an EU wide ban on octopus farming.

In March, we were live on Facebook all day as Dr Peter Caldwell and Dr Gerhard Steenkamp examined animals and performed dental surgery. Rey Cusco and David both had dental surgery while Tarzan, Tanya, Sasha, Kimba, and Tomas were sedated, examined, and moved to beautiful new habitats. The key events from the live broadcasts have been compiled into a video giving a great insight into the sanctuary. It has the added bonus of seeing the animals in their new homes at the end. Watch here.

AND FINALLY – Welcome to Milo!
Many of you will be familiar with our lovely sanctuary protector, Rollo, the lovely Anatolian/cross dog who came with the property and monitors the humans, ducks, chickens, turkeys, and guinea fowl to ensure we are all in order. We always planned for Rollo to have a rescued friend, but the COVID shutdown put all our plans on hold. We are delighted to welcome a new rescue, Milo, who has proved to be a great friend for Rollo and learning his guard dog duties.

As usual there is not enough space to cover all the campaigns to protect animals here, but do follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where we publish daily updates.
Our campaigns are vital for bringing lasting change and enabling us to rescue animals, please keep us on the frontlines for animals with a donation for this essential work. Donate here.

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:
donate UK £ | donate US $

ADI news from around the world in 60 days

We’ve had a busy time these past 60 days, just a sample included: Organizing the Ruben rescue; through our Species Survival Network membership, we worked to strengthen CITES protections; we co-hosted the International Candlelight Vigil for Elephants; saw the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act signed into law in the US; California’s ban on the sale and manufacture of new fur products came into force and a million signed up to a Fur Free Europe (the European Commission is now obliged to respond); we testified in committee to support an ordinance restricting rodeos; and the world wept with us at the passing of Cholita.
Here is some of our biggest news.

Cholita’s passing saw people heartbroken across the world. We responded to requests from supporters by setting up the Cholita Bear Fund to help fight wildlife trafficking, support our rescued bears, and help rescue others. We have made our first payout, sending emergency support to Taricaya, home of Cholita and our other bears. Peru’s state of emergency has led to escalating prices and shortages of food and other vital supplies as roads and airports have been blockaded. Over 50 people have died during the protests. The funds will ensure Taricaya does not face shortages of essentials for all the animals. We think Cholita would have approved. To contribute to the Cholita Bear Fund, click here.

You can watch here a busy day at the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa, during which Dr Peter Caldwell oversaw dental surgery on Rey Ayacucho and Simba, sedated Rey Cusco to review the arthritis caused by a brutal circus declawing operation; and then gave tigers Max and Stripes their annual vaccinations. Smith (pictured) was taken into the hospital for x-rays and ultrasounds, and has been treated for intestinal inflammation.

A landmark victory in December saw the Big Cat Public Safety Act passed which will end the breeding of big cats for cub petting, photo ops, backyard ‘zoos’, and the pet trade across the US. It gives hope that the US can pass ADI’s Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act, to ban traveling wild animal acts nationwide. On the local level, progress continues. Northampton became the fourteenth town in Massachusetts to prohibit the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows and circuses. In Missouri, Moolah Shrine Circus will be retiring their elephant acts. To help stop circus suffering in the US:

The Biomedical Primate Research Centre (BPRC), Europe’s largest monkey lab, which was investigated by ADI (see video) says it plans to cut primate testing by 40%. The lower house of the Dutch Parliament unanimously backed a motion calling on the government to limit the number of tests using primates and for research into how these can be reduced further, specifically targeting BPRC.

Cosmetics tests on animals, and manufacture or sale of cosmetics tested on animals are now banned in New York, which joins California, Nevada, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Maine, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Louisiana!

As we press ahead to secure permits to move Ruben from Armenia to South Africa, the Daily Mail covered the story, and it was picked up by numerous news outlets worldwide including The Mirror and the Daily Star.

The Hunting Trophy (Import Prohibition) Bill from Henry Smith MP passed its second reading and is now at Committee stage. Although it is notoriously difficult for a private members bill to pass, it is vital that the ban – which was promised by the UK government – is kept on the political agenda. Sadly, other government promises continue to stall including the Kept Animals Bill.

Bill 085/22S has been approved in the Senate following a debate lasting until 2am. Two debates are now required in the House of Representatives before it can become law. Unlike the previous bill, which would have immediately banned bullfighting but sadly fell in the House of Representatives, there would be a three-and-a-half-year period of regulated transition. Nevertheless, a ban on bullfighting is again a real possibility and ADI will be working with the Colombia Sin Toreo coalition to ensure it passes.

ADI’s Eduardo Peña addressed the first “Legal Protection of Animals in Colombia: Advances and challenges in criminal law” forum organized by Colombia’s Attorney General’s Office and covering a range of issues.

LION ARK FREE TO STREAM! The award-winning documentary about ADI’s rescue of every circus animal in Bolivia is now streaming on Unchained TV! Unchained TV is available online and on Apple TV, Android, Android TV, Fire TV, and Roku®. As part of the promotion, Tim and I were interviewed live from the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary by Jane Velez-Mitchell, during which we were plunged into darkness by a power cut but kept talking until the generator kicked in. Lions can be heard roaring in the background.

Watch Lion Ark and sit back, relax and watch the animals win!
This is a sample of our work, which is only possible thanks to our supporters. To help, donate here.

Rescues as Ambassadors for Change

Chaska starts a new life

The most rewarding end to any legislative campaign to end animal suffering is when we get the opportunity to rescue some lucky survivors, and just recently, our lucky survivor was a baby female woolly monkey in Peru. 

The story is the same everywhere, gangs go into the forests and net whole families of monkeys, often, the mother is killed, and the baby taken. This is likely what happened to our baby. This wickedly damaging crime disrupts the social structure of the local populations and the whole ecosystem. 

Stolen from the wild, for sale in local market

Fate and luck played a big role in this rescue; the baby was seized by Peru’s wildlife department, SERFOR (Selva Central District), ADI and partners UPA organised transport and veterinary care. We had the perfect solution; Fausto, a woolly monkey we rescued as a baby in 2014, was now alone in his rainforest habitat after his two companions passed away.

While ADI supporters gave towards her new introduction habitat (to meet Fausto safely) and her two-day journey on foot, by road, air (grateful thanks to LATAM Airlines) and boat, along the Iquitos Amazon tributary to her new ADI-funded sanctuary home, we started building.

Meanwhile, supporters voted to find a new human name for our baby girl and settled on Chaska, a beautiful native Andean name (Quechua language) meaning ‘bright star’. The first touch through the fence between Chaska and Fausto was precious. Introductions are necessarily slow and cautious, over a period of several weeks. After all, we hope for Fausto and Chaska to be together for life (up to 30 years). 

Tiny Chaska reaches out to touch her gentle giant, Fausto, for the first time. The companionship of someone who communicates as we do, sees the world as we do, is important to us all.

We hold onto these moments where we can put right a terrible wrong. The long road of public awareness, education, and lobbying for legislation helps governments and legislators do the right thing and enact laws to protect the non-humans who share our planet. They all need protection from the most destructive excesses of our species. Little Chaska is our bright star, encouraging us along the way.

ADI’s exposure of illegal wildlife markets of Latin America, Asia and Africa, the bushmeat trade, monkeys for laboratories, pets and other exotics, has provided the means for governments to act, on legislation and enforcement. Crucially, once laws are passed ADI offers solutions to hard-pressed government departments which may not have the resources to remove and relocate the victims during law enforcement operations. 

Joint operations with police and wildlife officials are essential to make laws effective.

Rescuing an illegal pet squirrel monkey.

Animal trafficking is a crime against us all. Stealing other inhabitants of our planet from their homes, killing and destroying families and populations, strips our forests of the biodiversity we all need to maintain our planet’s ecosystems. Extinction is not just them; it can hurt us, too. 

Have a Chaska day,

Take Action for World Day for Laboratory Animals, 24 April

Animal experimentation is the most secretive of all the industrialised uses of animals. It is estimated that worldwide, over 100 million animals are used in laboratories every year.  We can only use estimates because so many countries don’t even bother to record and publish how many animals are used. In the US, rats and mice are excluded altogether. 

Experiments are generally conducted in secret, protected by high security, and most experiments are never published. The pain and suffering these animals endure, is not exposed to public or wider scientific scrutiny. Proper independent scrutiny is needed, from experts who can advise on replacement methods, without the use of animals.

24 April is World Day for Laboratory Animals and an opportunity to put a spotlight on their suffering – and also, to press governments and regulators to ensure advanced, scientific non-animal methods are given priority over animal use. Regulators and the scientific community can move to these new approach methodologies (NAMs).

Animals are burnt, blinded, deliberately infected with disease, and force-fed products in experiments that can never be trusted because the fundamental flaw with animal use is the problem of species differences. Each species responds differently to substances, making results from animal tests unreliable when seeking potential effects in humans. For example, the breast cancer drug tamoxifen was designed as an oral contraceptive. It is in rats, but in women it has the opposite effect. It was then introduced to treat breast cancer, despite causing cancer in rats in some studies.

Some still claim animal experiments are essential to medical progress. However, our research indicates that not only are animal experiments misleading, they can also hold up progress. The introduction of blood transfusion was delayed over 200 years because of misleading results of animal experiments. Corneal transplants were delayed nearly 90 years by misleading animal tests.

We have shown that where there is a solid commitment from regulators and legislators, animal testing can be replaced. The EU set a deadline to replace cosmetics testing on animals. Opponents said it couldn’t be done, but the deadline drove forward the development and validation of advanced, non-animal alternatives. These are products used on the face, around the eyes and mouth, they may be used by an individual for many years and ingested on a regular basis. The EU cosmetics testing ban we fought so hard to secure, showed how these products can be safely produced without animal testing. Over 40 countries have banned cosmetics tests on animals. 

Governments and regulators remain reluctant to overhaul archaic regulations requiring animal tests, which are more than half a century old.

In the UK over 4,000 experiments are performed on beagle dogs each year and in the US, almost 60,000. The UK government’s statistics reveal that more than two thirds (68%) were performed to fulfil international regulatory requirements – mainly testing for toxic effects. The figures are even more stark for rabbits and macaque monkeys (the most commonly used primates), respectively, 92% and 97% of these tests are to satisfy regulations. These are UK statistics, but it is reasonable to consider they reflect a global picture. 

These outdated regulations mean animals are force fed products from weedkiller to new drugs, keeping the world locked into animal testing, despite the emergence of more advanced, scientific, precise and humane methods, more relevant to humans. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. Legislators, governments and regulators can adopt policies to accelerate the use of new approach methodologies (NAMs).  

To speed up the development of vaccines for the COVID pandemic, the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) cut requirements for efficacy tests on animals before proceeding to human clinical trials. An estimated million animals die in this type of test every year. Despite the ICMRA ruling, Oxford University tested the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine in monkeys, and the results demonstrated exactly why these tests can be dropped. The vaccine failed to stop the virus in monkeys, but human trials were extended, and the vaccine has since been given to millions of people.

World Day for Laboratory Animals on 24 April provides a focus to draw attention to the suffering of the animals and show that advanced methods are better for science, for the public and the animals. Make your voice the voice for the animals, this special day. Remind politicians, legislators, regulators and governments around the world, that the public wants to see an end to the iniquity of animal testing and greater used of advanced techniques. 

Governments and regulators can make a policy decision to implement use of non-animal, advanced scientific methods, known in science as ‘new approach methodologies’ (NAMs) before animal use is considered. Our task is to push for this!

Wherever you are, send a simple message to your elected representatives – tell them you want to see a commitment to end animal research and testing, and replacement with advanced non-animal methods.

Do it today. 

Join us LIVE, worldwide, for the re-introduction of the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection and Public Safety Act (TEAPSPA) in the U.S. Congress on 17 November!        

Come watch an UPLIFTING and INSPIRING online event hosted by Daytime Emmy Award nominated, Kim Matula (The Bold & The Beautiful, Fighting With My Family) to launch TEAPSPA, to end the use of wild and exotic animals in circuses in the US. 

Kim will be joined by bill’s sponsors in the House, Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Rep. David Schweikert and in the Senate, by Senator Robert Menendez; Dr. Betsy Coville (USDA-accredited veterinarian, 30+years with exotic animals, MA Veterinary Forensic Sciences) and special guests Chloe East (True Blood, HBO’s Generation, currently filming Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans); ADI Ambassador Jorja Fox (West Wing and known to 73 million viewers as Sara Sidle in CSI).

It has been a long road for TEAPSPA – the evidence we have released over two decades includes undercover investigations and scientific, legal and economic evidence supporting the case to end the use of wild and exotic animals in US circuses.

Successes along the way have included four states with bans: New Jersey, Hawaii, California and Colorado, and 100 local jurisdictions have also looked at the evidence and concluded that cruelty for entertainment is not acceptable in modern society.

Meanwhile, approaching 50 countries have ended the use of either all animals, or wild animals, in traveling shows. 

Animal circus acts date back to a time when people were ignorant of the emotions, intelligence and communications of other species. Now, we know better. Studies have confirmed what we already knew – other species experience feelings like frustration, pain, fear, affection, joy and pleasure. No more excuses – when we keep intelligent, sentient, communicative, social beings in small, bare spaces, tied up, living lives full of fear and chronic stress, WE KNOW we are causing injury, pain and suffering. 

We can see the effects on the animals, the repetitive pacing, rocking, swaying and bobbing heads tells us they are going out of their minds because they cannot escape the abusive environment in which they find themselves.

The evidence is in. Traveling shows cannot provide for the physical, behavioral and psychological needs of wild animals. Severe confinement in barren conditions, malnutrition, lack of exercise and restriction of natural behaviors, results in animals prone to health, behavioral, and psychological problems. Welfare is always compromised. 

Circus animals are routinely subjected to violence and brutal training methods; weapons include whips, shovels, golf clubs, iron bars, bullhooks, and electric shock devices; almost anything will suffice. And large, potentially dangerous wild animals present a clear public safety hazard, which is addressed with brutality. Deaths and injuries to animals, trainers and the public are far too common. 

Poor government agency oversight and monitoring to enforce existing regulations is extremely costly and has come under repeated criticism – including from the Inspector General. Nominal licensing fees and minimal monetary penalties do not cover oversight costs – so taxpayers bear the burden. Federal oversight of traveling animal acts is problematic, unmanageable, and costly for American taxpayers. Worse yet, it’s just not working. 

Let’s get the reluctant, unwilling animals out of entertainment – human-only performance shows are popular and creative, providing jobs for eager human entertainers rather than suffering for abused animals.  

If you are not in the US but have friends or family there, ask them to help.

Go to and see what you can do. Do it now.

The ADI Wildlife Sanctuary



After a long and difficult 18 months working in Guatemala, our Operation Liberty circus rescue is drawing to a successful conclusion, with 21 animals removed from circuses. With such large numbers of ex-circus animals needing space, ADI decided that it was time for us to build our own sanctuary.

For the past 16 months, we purchased land and have been building the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa. We are currently home to 26 lions, all but one are those we rescued from circuses in Peru and Colombia. Early in the New Year, with our permits finally in place, we will welcome 17 new residents – 12 tigers and 5 lions from our Operation Liberty circus animal rescue in Guatemala.

The first three of the Guatemala rescues found a wonderful home at Big Cat Rescue in Florida – Kimba, Simba and Max – our three musketeers are settling in, enjoying the peace, respect and care they deserve – our grateful thanks to Big Cat Rescue.

In a wonderful gesture of support for the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue has announced a matching grant for the installation of an ecological waste disposal and water filtration system (not an easy project for us to fundraise!). This system will ensure our sanctuary is friendly to the local environment and wildlife, conserves water for use on plants and general work, and helps us to be self-sustaining, building on the long-term welfare of our residents.

Big Cat Rescue has offered a matching grant of $50,000 towards the $100,000 required for the drains and reedbed filtration system – can you help us get this matched?

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Please do check out our video on YOUTUBE ‘This is the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary’ – see what our current residents are up to – enjoy!

ADI Wildlife Sanctuary website:


Sky’s answer on torture of Tai does not impress

As Tai and the other elephants at Have Trunk Will Travel/The Preserve, continue to existing in abject misery, deprivation, beatings and electric shocks, Sky doesn’t want to address the cruelty behind the scenes in their new An Elephant’s Journey production. Here is their stock answer:

Thank you for contacting us about An Elephant’s Journey and thank you also for your patience whilst we investigated your complaint.
The film concerns a circus elephant named Flora who is no longer able to perform her tricks. To prevent any harm coming to Flora, the circus owner’s daughter decides to sneak her out of the circus, starting a long journey to freedom.
The work was passed uncut by the British Board of Film Classification and it is in their remit to raise any concerns around animal welfare in films which they did not do on this occasion, as they noted no noticeable mistreatment of the elephant seen within the film. Additionally, during the end credits there is text notifying viewers that the American Humane Association were satisfied that no animals were harmed during the filming.
We take animal welfare extremely seriously and, on this occasion, are comfortable that the production complies with the appropriate rules as set out by the American Humane Association and has also been approved by the BBFC for broadcast in the UK.
Kind regards
The Sky Team

I can assure The Sky Team that the above does not represent any kind of investigation of the facts, or sense of duty for pushing a production where animals suffered behind the scenes. Your focus on the fantasy story does not mean that Tai and her companions should experience pain and suffering for your to plug your new product.
You could have contacted ADI to see the footage yourself. Or watch it on YouTube.

If you had asked ADI, we could have explained to you that the American Humane clearance is based on their observers seeing no cruelty on set. People who beat and electric shock animals do not do it in front of anyone. It happens during the real training, back at the ranch, where nobody can hear the screams.
Your response sounds dismissive and uncaring.
Extremely unimpressed.

Abused elephant Tai’s suffering ignored by Sky and FJ Productions

HTWT (now The Preserve) owner Kari Johnson

In an appalling move, Sky (shame on them) is featuring a production called ‘An Elephant’s Journey’, (previously entitled ‘Saving Flora’ in the US).

ADI filmed owners and workers at Have Trunk Will Travel, California (now moved to Texas and called The Preserve), violently and brutally beating and electric shocking elephants as the animals screamed in pain. When ADI sent the evidence to FJ Productions and pleaded with them to use CGI instead of live animals, it was ignored.

Performing elephants are taken from their natural lives, families and habitat, transported on terrifying journeys across the world, beaten and electric shocked into submission, and suffer a life of fear, pain and misery, for just a few minutes of entertainment.  And clearly, for profit for companies like Sky and FJ Productions.

Sky should be ashamed to be showing this revolting and disgraceful depiction of abuse of intelligent, emotional and social beings for a few minutes of entertainment.

Please join ADI in urging Sky to do the right thing and instead of supporting the violence inflicted on Tai, to drop ‘An Elephant’s Journey’ from its broadcast schedule and online store. Contact them today at or send a message through Sky.

Find out more:


Tarzan and Tanya’s story on Valentine’s Day

ADI has been full steam ahead on building our new ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa since we purchased the property last August. So far, we have built 12 enclosures, planted trees, built brick night houses and platforms/shelters for the cats to see the views. We received our permit to operate the sanctuary and have permission for all of our large cats. By the end of this year, our sanctuary will be home to over 40 big cats, rescued from circuses. See our progress at:

At the same time, ADI has been working this past year with Guatemala’s wildlife and animal welfare officials on enforcement of their country’s ban on animal circuses. We have rescued 21 lions and tigers so far, who are being cared for and prepared for export at our Temporary Rescue Center in Guatemala.

Today, we are telling the story of Tarzan and Tanya, two ex-circus lions at our Temporary Rescue Center – let me paint the picture for you – as the sun sets in Guatemala, lions Tanya and Tarzan snuggle up together and Tarzan begins to wash Tanya’s head. These two beautiful, life-long companions express the kind of bond of love that we all recognise on Valentine’s Day – one that has carried them through the toughest of times.

Tarzan and Tanya spent 8 long years in a small, bare circus cage. At some point during that time, Tarzan was in a fight with a tiger. It must have been horrific and very bloody. His lower lip was torn away from his jaw, and still droops down to this day. His untreated, broken, and infected teeth – commonly seen in circus big cats – left Tarzan in constant pain.

As soon as we rescued Tarzan from the circus, we scheduled him for field dental surgery – his transformation was remarkable. Where he had been subdued and cautious, within days his inner kitten emerged and he began to play. The sight of dear Tarzan playing brought tears to everyone’s eyes.

Tarzan’s companion, Tanya, is small, but brave. She is Tarzan’s protector, patrolling to keep others away from him, and it seems likely that the scars on her face are from her trying to defend him during that savage tiger encounter. While she watches over and guards him, Tarzan is a soothing influence on Tanya, calming her if she gets spooked.

With your help this courageous and loyal lion couple love will be spending their next Valentine’s Day roaming a huge natural enclosure at the new ADI Wildlife Sanctuary. We also hope to undertake surgery to repair Tarzan’s lip once he gets to his forever home.

See Tarzan and Tanya’s story:

I am in Guatemala right now as we work towards the relocation of Tanya and Tarzan and the other lions and tigers to their new homes and provide for all of their urgent needs in our temporary facilities.


Give a Valentine’s Day donation for Tanya and Tarzan’s care and to help them to their new life
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You can give the purr-fect gift to the one you love, and adopt Tarzan, Tanya, or one of our other rescued lions, as a gift here:
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