ADI statement on circus lion attack in Ukraine

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has urged Ukraine and other countries without bans on the use of animals in circuses to stop circus suffering after a lion attacked a trainer during a circus performance in the city of Lugansk.


ADI President Jan Creamer said: “Exploited for entertainment, animals in circuses endure a lifetime of suffering and abuse. It’s time for countries without bans in place to step up and stop animals and people being put in harm’s way.”


The attack is one of a growing catalogue of incidents involving circus animals around the world, highlighting the inherent animal welfare and human safety issues.

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Studies of the use of wild animals in traveling circuses show that circuses cannot meet their physical or behavioral needs. Animals are confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time shut in transporters. These animals are often seen behaving abnormally; rocking, swaying, and pacing, all indicating that they are in distress and not coping with their environment. ADI’s video evidence has shown how these animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear, and intimidation.


The animal protection organization is currently in Guatemala helping enforce a ban on the use of animals in circuses, as it has done in both Bolivia and Peru, and now has 21 lions and tigers at its temporary rescue center. Eighteen of the big cats will be going to the new ADI Wildlife Sanctuary in South Africa. To support the rescue mission, donate here:

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