Target: President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos
Goal: Praise new law that outlaws the use of wild animals in circus shows
Recently, the Colombian Congress passed a new bill to ban wild animals from being used in circus shows throughout the country. Currently, 18 out of Colombia’s 25 major circus companies use wild animals such as tigers, bears, lions and monkeys in their acts.
Historically, circus animals throughout the world have been subjected to horrific abuse, and Colombia’s circuses are no exception. Before the recent ban on circus animals was passed, video documentation arose of circus workers repeatedly abusing, inflicting violence and causing extreme distress upon animals. Among these disturbing images were a circus employee continuously beating and yelling at an elephant, the beating of tigers and ponies by workers, llamas being wrestled to the ground and beaten and a mandrill frantically shrieking while trying to escape its cage. Sadly, this sort of brutality is not unusual. Tim Phillips, Vice President of Animal Defenders International, a group largely responsible for the recent legislation, stated that the investigative video “revealed, yet again, that animals continue to endure violent abuse in circuses across Colombia.”
However, there are some that oppose the new legislation. Raul Gasca, a member of one of Colombia’s oldest circuses, the Circo de los Hermanos Gasca, called the bill “unfair” and “unbalanced” because “it only affected circuses.” Furthermore, he asserted that the popularity of circuses in Colombia exists only because “[Colombians] like the traditional circus, the one with clowns, with animals, with goodies, the one for photos.” He believes that the ban on wild animals will negatively affect business.
Despite opposition from circus owners and employees, many Colombians support the legislation. Augusto Posada, Speaker of the House of Representatives, described the bill as being of “vital importance in the defense of animal rights.” The bill, which will go into effect immediately after President Juan Manuel Santos signs it into law, will allow circuses until 2015 to rid wild animals from their acts. It will not prevent the use of domestic animals, such as dogs, cats or horses in circus shows.
Thank President Juan Manuel Santos for supporting animal rights by banning the use of wild animals in circus shows in Colombia.
Dear President Juan Manuel Santos,
For far too long, circus animals have been vulnerable to senseless abuse and abhorrent violence inflicted by circus workers. Often, these animals faced severe stress as a result of abuse, leading to sickness and sometimes death. Other times, they continued to survive a miserable existence of cyclical abuse and distress.
By passing new legislation to ban the use of wild animals in circus shows in Colombia, you have taken an important step forward in protecting animal rights. Wild animals have no place in circuses, and it is cruel in its own right simply to view wild creatures as means for human entertainment.
Thank you for joining four other South American countries in banning wild animals from Colombian circuses.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Max Roeleveld via Flickr