Lion Ark movie Contributor Credits Closed today

Final credits are finished and score completed! Lion Ark is in the film festivals from October.

Early reviews are very exciting (see below) and see more news at:

and on facebook at,

Lion Ark is an action adventure style animal rescue where just a small group of people changed a continent – but the animals are the stars, you’ll root for the animals and love it when they win.  Photo is one of our stars, CSI actress Jorja Fox.Image

UK wild animal circuses, Anne Trial and Lion Ark

Catching up… It’s been a very busy time with the UK Government discussing the wild animal circus issue and the new legislation on animal experiments. We’ve had the Los Angeles circus animal ban under discussion, and our Hollywood Lion Ark Night event with Bob Barker, Jorja Fox and a host of celebrities for the private preview of our new movie, Lion Ark, , then back to London for the Roberts cruelty trial.

After many promises, many delays and time and money wasted on a flawed licensing regime, we may indeed see some progress from the UK Government on the wild animal circus ban.

In a move which appears to signal the beginning of the end for the remaining wild animals in circuses in Britain, ADI revealed on 4th February that Martin Lacey, owner of the Great British Circus, had shipped his tigers off to Ireland to perform with the Courtney Brothers Circus.

We told ‘The Observer’, “There has been enough evidence, enough consultations, all the experts agree – putting large cats and other exotic animals in tiny cages that fit on a truck, with no environmental enrichment, and then beating them to perform tricks to entertain people is unacceptable in modern society. The day of the animal circus is over.”

Only two circuses have applied for a licence under the much-criticized new licensing scheme – Circus Mondao and Peter Jolly’s Circus – and there are only a handful of wild animal acts performing across Ireland. Clear evidence of their growing unpopularity with the public.

In February, we met with John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development at the National Assembly for Wales to discuss the use of wild animals in circuses.  We were heartened by the minister’s support for a ban and hopeful that Wales will introduce legislation in parallel with the UK Government.

In response to an oral question in the Welsh Assembly by Jocelyn Davies on 16th  January, the Minister had responded “….the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is considering legislation that would ban the use of wild animals in circuses. I have been liaising with the UK Government to make it clear that were that legislation to proceed, the Welsh Government would be interested in being a part of it, perhaps through a legislative consent motion, for example.”

We have also met with the Northern Ireland Assembly minister, and will be following this up, see the update at

It has been almost two years since our investigation exposed the terrible suffering of Anne the elephant at the winter quarters of the Bobby Roberts’ Super Circus.  Following media pressure arising from release of the footage, Roberts allowed Anne to be removed from the circus. A criminal prosecution followed using the video evidence, at a week long trial last November. Roberts was convicted of cruelty to Anne but received a derisory ‘conditional discharge’ sentence, which means that unless he commits another offence, he escapes a proper punishment.

Roberts was convicted for keeping Anne chained to the ground by two legs for the whole of the time she was in the barn, and for his failure to protect Anne from harm. However, the sentence sends the wrong message to circus owners and workers about their obligations under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The Act cannot protect these animals. And no, the inspections of the Roberts barn did not identify any of the husbandry problems, nor cruelty to Anne.

Anne has remained at Longleat Safari Park and we understand plans for an ‘elephant sanctuary’ are progressing. It’s worrying that it has taken over a year to add a grass paddock to Anne’s enclosure, she is still controlled with the traditional ankus (bullhook) weapons, and she remains alone. We were also deeply saddened to hear Longleat staff defending Roberts in the media before the trial and in court during the trial. However, let’s hope these plans will mean better life for Anne in the long term, see

Great British Circus sees the writing on the wall

Finally, Great British Circus owner Martin Lacey has seen the writing on the wall – people don’t want to see archaic shows where miserable animals plod around being beaten, poked and prodded.

Rather than turn his show into one of the successful human-only shows, Lacey announces the sale of his animals in Horse & Hound magazine, saying that he is to retire.

No retirement for his poor tigers though, which one of his workers told an ADI investigator are to be sold to another circus, maybe in Italy.

We have exposed GBC several times now, most recently in 2009, when three elephants from Germany were beaten mercilessly by their handler and trainer; water was put out of reach behind an electric tape fence; a claimed “six” welfare inspections by local authorities, police and RSPCA, did not discover the abuse. But the UK Government still claims that inspections can protect these animals.

Good news to hear that circus impresario Gerry Cottle – who moved to human-only circus shows some years ago – has recently announced his belief that the presence of animals gives circuses a bad name. Quite right.

However, will the UK Government see the light? The public and parliamentary support for an end to the use of wild animals in travelling circuses has never been higher. Will they bow to the nation’s wishes, and bring in a ban before the next election? Now is the time!

Meanwhile – the ADI Peru team has been in meetings with government officials on implementation of the ban there.

UK Parliament – battle to save circus animals continues

We’ve unleashed a storm in the UK Parliament already in 2012! 

ADI has been working hard with a fantastic group of committed MPs who have tabled no less than seventeen parliamentary questions in December and January, followed by two further EDMs (Early Day Motions). This brings our total number of Parliamentary Questions on animal circuses during November, December and January to over thirty.

MPs Jim Cunningham, Caroline Lucas, Peter Bottomly, Jeremy Corbyn, Mark Durkan, Gordon Henderson, Kelvin Hopkins, Bob Russell and Adrian Sanders have all supported the two new EDMs and many others are tabling questions in the House – Tessa Munt, Mark Pritchard, Nic Dakin, Kerry McCarthy, Fiona O’ Donnell, John Leech, Angela Smith, Graeme Morrice, Viendra Sharma, Cathy Jamieson, Gordon Henderson, Gavin Shuker, Justin Tomlinson, Sheila Gilmore, and Jim Fitzpatrick.

This is an amazing level of work to get the Government to listen to the will of parliament and public and take urgent action to end the suffering of wild animals in circuses.  All of the investigations, studies, research and just plain common sense tells us that it is not feasible to keep wild animals in travelling accommodation and expect to maintain health and welfare.

The first, EDM 2563, reminds the Government that urgent action is needed and demands a ban, in accordance with the will of parliament and public.

The second EDM, 2586, demands that the Government release veterinary inspection reports on circuses, which have been repeatedly denied to ADI, despite freedom of information requests.  These reports are clearly a matter of public interest, since they form part of Defra’s information gathering for their proposed licensing regime. Go to:

Government intransigence 

The Coalition Government’s intransigence in the face of overwhelming public and parliamentary support for an end the suffering of these animals appears illogical. Following years of investigations and deliberations, a consensus was growing last year, when even the Prime Minister said that he was “minded” to ban.  Then he suddenly blocked all progress.  Now Defra remains set for yet another failure, as it attempts to bring in a doomed inspection and licensing regime.

The legal objections

Back in the early summer, the Government’s objections to a ban were that there might be a legal challenge from Europe (citing a non-existent case), and/or a ban might contravene the European Services Directive, and/or the UK Human Rights Act.  ADI responded with top-level legal advice showing that each of these objections was unfounded and in fact, ministerial statements to the House were wrong. See the story at: and

In an odd coincidence, following this debate in the UK Circus Krone launched another challenge to the Austrian ban.  However, as we announced before Christmas, the Austrian Constitutional Court advised us that it had thrown out the case. This removes the last desperate excuse of the UK Government. The way is now clear for a ban.

Proposed Inspection Regime – ‘Out of Control’

Although the legal impediments to a ban are clearly non-existent, it is still important to address the value of inspection and licensing regimes.  ADI has observed and recorded inspections in both the UK and abroad, and we have not found an inspection regime that can identify and take action over issues of animal abuse or welfare deficits.  Put simply, the abuse does not happen in public or when inspectors are around and poor care can be easy to hide.

The abuse of the elephants we uncovered at the Great British Circus in 2009 would not have been seen during an inspection.  Inspections also failed to discover that the elephants were being chained for excessive periods of time. The abuse of Anne the elephant in 2011 – we released undercover footage last year – would not have been uncovered by an official inspection.

To set these inspections in context, ADI has published a new report, ‘Out of Control’, including details of previously unpublished and unseen evidence of inspections.  It provides clear evidence that an inspection system is doomed to failure. Go to:

And so we continue.  Time to dig in!