S2 E6: Jan Creamer: Stop Circus Suffering

Jan Creamer is the president and co-founder of ADI, Animal Defenders International, an organization that has been around since the nineties when Jan and her husband Tim Phillips founded it, and since then Jan and Tim have changed the lives of countless animals all over the globe.

One of ADI’s enormously successful campaigns is Stop Circus Suffering. Thanks to Jan, Tim, and ADI, the use of wild animals in circuses has been banned in 45 countries thus far. From Serbia to Scotland to Singapore, wild animals no longer have to live the torturous lives of constant confinement, transport, abuse, and nonstop suffering.

In order to get these bans passed, ADI spends years doing undercover investigations in each country. Once they have enough evidence showing the terrible lives these animals are forced to endure, including being stuck in tiny enclosures, without room to move, for their entire lives, they present it to the people, the media, and the government. The government then makes it illegal to use wild animals in circuses and the ban becomes law. But, that isn’t enough. Animal Defenders International stays in each country until every single circus hands over their animals. They hand them over to ADI (sometimes with resistance) who then moves them to temporary sanctuaries, brings them back to health, and then eventually relocates them to permanent sanctuaries all over the world.

It’s and absolutely incredible feat that they have accomplished. There’s never ever a good reason to have a wild animal in a circus. Aside from the fact that they're abused and treated horribly, it is absolutely inhumane and cruel to force them to live lives on the road, in small cages and trucks and trailers. Most of them are in spaces not much bigger than their body, and that's where they spend 95% of their time. The time not confined is when they are forced to perform, which none of them want to do and that's usually where a lot of the beatings and abuse takes place.

Tigers are in small barred covered cages for 22 hours a day. Elephants are chained and can’t move more than a couple of feet for their entire lives. And all of these animals are in transport constantly. Every day or few days, they're traveling somewhere new on the backs of trailers, trains, and trucks.

ADI's conducted undercover studies in all of these countries for years, and every time that they're behind the scenes, they film violence and abuse at every circus on the planet. It doesn't matter what country, what they claim their laws are, the abuse is the same across the board.

Jan, Tim, and ADI have truly changed the way that the world views animal entertainment. They’ve shifted culture all over the planet. They aren’t stopping either; they’ve just built an ADI sanctuary in South Africa, and have many more countries on their list. There are still too many that don’t yet have nationwide bans, including the US.