Animal Defenders International (ADI) are a well-known animal-rights lobby organisation familiar to many readers of this blog. Their most recent televised appearance in the UK was to provide a representative to put forward the organisation's well-known opposition to animals, in what they describe as, entertainment – although this now seems to encompass just not circuses but also zoos. The program was ITV's This Morning hosted by Phillip Schofield and Amanda Holden and related to the animal trainer Thomas Chipperfield's touring show with trained big cats entitled "An Evening with Lions and Tigers". The interview became notorious for the fact that Amanda Holden became quite aggressive in her line of questioning of Thomas Chipperfield, which resulted in the actress being obliged to apologise to viewers in the latter part of the interview.
But perhaps one of the most curious aspects of this interview is something that did not appear in the broadcast. According to Thomas Chipperfield on his Facebook page he was asked by the production company on a number of occasions that he should avoid making it clear to the viewing public that ADI are not a charity in the United Kingdom. This is, of course, something that many readers will be aware of. In the past, ADI have defended this position because they believed that being under the watchful eye of the rules and regulations laid down by the U.K.'s Charities Commission would somehow stifle their ability to lobby as animal-rights activists. However, for reasons only known to Animal Defenders International, it now appears that on their webpage in the section About Us that link entitled Charitable Status is no longer active.
This seems very strange for an organisation that never seems to shy away from publicity. Using the magic of the Internet Rouster was able to go back to a webpage from 2010 and found the original explanation from ADI as to why they will not undertake registration in the UK as a charity which is reproduced below.
|Screen capture from the ADI web site 2010 via Wayback Machine . Click to enlarge.|
But perhaps this isn't too strange, as Animal Defenders International haven't been having a particularly easy ride recently, particularly in relationship to its activities in South America. Here it has pursued the banning of circus animals in various countries such as Bolivia and Colombia. Having achieved their aims they then proceeded to seize various animals – some from circuses but others from private keepers. Having acquired a very large menagerie they are now trying to proceed to move animals (via public donations) to various animal-rights sanctuaries around the world. Unfortunately, even here there has been controversy with their very public falling out with at least one animal sanctuary in the United States.
Astley's Legacy was formed to counter the misinformation and propaganda spread by animal rights activists. As well as fighting the corner for circus animals and their trainers, we are here to promote and celebrate the cultural heritage of circus in general, and especially in the country of its birth - Great Britain. For more information please see our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/223570581049199
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