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-Steps to Freedom-

We all want to see animals content in the wild, safe in their natural habitat, and that feeling you get when your stomach turns as you feel helpless to stopping the cruelty is what stirs us all on to try and make a change. Chief Executive of ADI and NAVS, Jan Creamer, has dedicated over 25 years to making sure the public never forget the face of animal suffering. By personally carrying out undercover investigations, overseeing international rescue operations, and producing hard-hitting scientific reports, Jan has been on the frontline for animals. A decade ago it was an ADI undercover investigation led by Jan that shook the UK circus industry to its foundations and saw Mary Chipperfield, who was found guilty of 13 cases of cruelty to baby chimp Trudy.

Jan Creamer CEO of ADI, with rescued Tiger, Tarzan on route from Portugal to South Africa

It is always difficult for anyone to witness animal cruelty first hand, so while these rescue stories have a happy ending, there is always a difficult road to travel. En route to those first steps to freedom, Jan and her team face the suffering of animals, the nerve wracking process of gathering vital evidence, the battles with officialdom to secure the seizure of animals and then permits to move them – even going toe to toe with local gangsters trying to seize animals for themselves! But it melts away when these beautiful animals take their first steps to freedom, or embrace their own kind at last, after years in isolation.

“Our loveable rogue Tarzan, a tiger who was rescued from a dilapidated circus in Portugal, now basks in the sun and often lays happily in his pool at the ADI Rescue Centre in South African.” says Jan. “He is so different now to when we first found him in a tiny, filthy cage on the back of a lorry. Tigers are such majestic and powerful animals, it is devastating to see them stripped of their dignity and barely able to move at the circus.”

Tarzan – our rescued tiger

Travelling thousands of miles to ensure safe passage for the rescued animals, it is the support of ADI adopters that have meant that new sanctuary enclosures can be built and safe transport provided. Adopting Tarzan, Toto the chimp, or Sarah and Caesar the lions means a brighter future for other animals that ADI can rescue. Caesar the lion is a huge, inimitable king of beasts and certainly caused ADI rescue officers to take a shocked step back when he gained energy after rescue and became a towering, physical presence in the transport containers. Yes, ADI were thrilled to see him alert and strong but it also gave them a key reminder to keep hands outside the crate at all times!

The ADI team, with offices in London, the USA and South America, uses these dramatic rescues to try and secure lasting protection for animals. When ADI seized an entire circus in Mozambique, the campaign that followed led to new rules for the cross border movements of endangered with circuses on over 170 countries. A massive loophole that had freely allowed animal trafficking by circuses was closed.

Caesar a lion we rescued last year from a circus in Portugal and relocated to our Sanctuary in South Africa. This is the moment we opened his traveling crate
In 2007, the European Parliament adopted an ADI declaration to end the use of apes and wild caught monkeys in experiments and for a timetable to set to end all experiments on primates. Over half of the MEPs representing every European state and every political affiliation signed up. Jan: “This was a huge achievement, but now we have to work hard for this to become a reality, so there is no rest, the campaign now move to the European Commission and from there to the Council of Ministers.”

Indeed, there is too much animal suffering in the world for organisations like ADI and sister group the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) to rest on their laurels. So after celebrating the success of re-homing chimps like Toto and Tigers like Tarzan, it is best foot forward for the next rescue or political meeting to secure a safer future for the animals.

Toto before we rescued him, chained to a truck in a circus in Chile
Jan and her team also know that it is vital to engage and involve people in their work, whether it is adopting rescued animals or participating in campaigns. This year they are stepping up the pressure to end the testing of household products, like washing up liquid, on laboratory animals. Under the banner “Kick animal testing out of the house”, consumers are being urged to buy products marked “Not Tested” and to contact manufacturers. Simultaneously, the group is pressing for a ban in the UK, USA and Europe-wide – a tactic that successfully secured the UK then Europe-wide cosmetics testing ban.

An ADI Field Officer working undercover in a Colombian circus secretly filmed a circus trainer viciously abusing a chimpanzee called Karla. As she screamed and desperately tried to shield her face, the thug first punched her in the face, then picked up a chain and beat her with it. It is the kind of scene that that galvanises ADI. Over a year later, after publicity and court cases, ADI continues to battle to save the chimp.

Toto the chimpanzee (large male) we rescued from a circus in Chile. We relocated him to a sanctuary in Zambia where he now lives with a new family with his two ‘adopted’ children, Madonna (far left) and Sims (small chimp)

You can find out about how Karla’s story unfolds, about how to adopt rescued animals, why the UK has still not banned the use of wild animals in circuses, or how to get involved in the “Kick Animal Testing Out Of The House Campaign” by visiting >>

Many thanks for all that you do for the animals!

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