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01/26/2011

Bolivia’s ban on circus animals leads to rescue and rehoming of 25 lions!  »

In November of last year, Animals Lebanon rescued a chimpanzee from his life as a literal roadside attraction in Lebanon, and rehomed him at a sanctuary in Brazil. This month, Animal Defenders International celebrates a similar victory, as 24 former circus lions were rescued from Bolivia and rehomed at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in “the open plains of Colorado, just 30 miles northeast of Denver.” And soon, they’ll have a 25th rescued lions! Hooray!

These lions came from different circuses all over the country, and all their stories are so sad. One had been kept in the same metal box she was came in when she was purchased as a cub. One is completely freaked out by brooms and other cleaning implements, as though he had had experienced some cleaning-equipment-related trauma before. You don’t mean to imply that people might have beaten him with brooms, do you? YES, YES WE DO. Some of them have trouble eating, behaving as though they are “convinced that the food is going to be taken away again.”

Obviously, circus animal abuse is not endemic to Bolivia—in fact, since 2009 Bolivia is the first and only country in the world “to put in place a national ban on the use of any and all animals in circuses.” FIRST and ONLY. Don’t you love comparing other countries to the U.S. and seeing how terrible we make it for animals here?

ADI reports that all of the rescued lions are adapting relatively well to their great big new living areas. Congratulations to the efforts of everyone involved in Operation Lion Ark: this is beautiful, heartening news.

UPDATE: A couple of you noted that China passed a similar law, which Laura posted about last week! Bolivia remains the only country to have outright banned using animals—domestic and wild!—in circuses; China no longer allows animal-exclusive circuses, and its protections for performing animals look quite strong. U.S. circuses, however, remain the devil’s work.

[photos via thanks to care2.org for the tip!}

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