Thirty-Three Lions Rescued from Vile Circuses

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Today Animal Defenders International airlifted 33 lions — most in poor health — rescued from circuses in Peru and Columbia.

These awesome big cats will be returned to their homeland in Africa to live in an animal sanctuary.

The president of Animal Defenders International, Jan Creamer, said “these lions have endured hell-on-earth and now they are heading home to paradise. This is the world nature intended these animals for.”

I loathe the corporations profiting from animal slavery circuses. The late oceanographer and filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau said it best when asked about freedom for the animal kingdom: “When we return wild animals to nature, we merely return them to what is theirs for man cannot give wild animals freedom, they can only take it away.”

Many of the 33 imprisoned lions were brutally declawed as well as suffering from broken teeth. One cat named Ricardo lost an eye and another lion is almost blind.

Twenty-four of these lions were rescued in surprise raids on a circus in Peru. They were found in tiny cages on the back of trucks. Nine other lions were voluntarily handed over from a circus in Columbia.

These 33 beaten-up lions are going home to Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo, South Africa. The temperature and climate are perfect for these cats.

All 33 cats are flying on a McDonnell Douglas MD 11-cargo aircraft with a team of compassionate veterinarians that will monitor the felines during the flight since none will be sedated during the long ride home.

In 2011, Animal Defenders International successfully airlifted 25 lions from inhumane circuses in Bolivia to a sanctuary in Colorado.

Animal kingdom superhero Bob Barker helped launch these stealthy Peru circus raids, and crowd funding, along with GreaterGood, raised half the cost of the journey to South Africa.

The days of unscrupulously profiting from animal slavery are coming to an end quickly because it’s morally unacceptable to keep animals captive for entertainment purposes. The more kindhearted people who refuse to purchase tickets for circuses with animals or dolphinariums, the faster we can hasten their demise.

There is hope because in May 2013, India assigned cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises) non-human-persons-rights. The Ministry of Environment & Forests agreed to ban the use of cetaceans for public entertainment and forbid them from being held captive anywhere in India. I predict many other nations will follow India’s compassionate ruling.

Thank you to all those intrepid warriors who protect the animal kingdom.

Love is the solution.

Earth Doctor Reese Halter is the author of “The Insatiable Bark Beetle.”