Your Guide to the Reality of Animal Circus



"The academic panel concluded that there appears to be little evidence to demonstrate that the welfare of animals kept in travelling circuses is any better or worse than that of animals kept in other captive environments" - Executive Summary of the DEFRA Circus Working Group 2007

Join us on Facebook The WELFARE of Circus animals.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Know your enemy - Animal Defenders International



Animal Defenders International have risen to prominence over the last two decades. Despite having a rather radical agenda that is firmly in line with the ideals of animal rightism, the group seems to be relatively immune to the sort of bad publicity that abounds on other animal rights organisations such as the Humane Society for the United States (HSUS) or People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Why is this? This is as much a legitimate question as it is a rhetorical one.



Youthful Beginnings

The group began their existence as the "youth arm" of the National Anti-Vivisection Society, targeting schools with brochures and pamphlets on a range of animal issues. From the word go, they made no disguise of the fact that they were not merely opposed to animal abuse, but stood against all animal usage. They combined images of supposed and actual animal abuse with comic strips, clearly targeting a young audience.

When the UK enforced a mass slaughter of animals to prevent the spread of the Foot and Mouth Disease, ADI compared it to the general slaughter of animals for meat consumption. However, despite their views and campaigning and links to extremist activists in their employment, the group is still listed and calls itself an "Animal Welfare" organization rather than an "Animal Rights" organization. 


According to Guidestar report the Board of Directors of Animal Defenders International - US are:

Pauline Dibley
Nick Brice
Tim Phillips
Jan Creamer
Mary Windebank
Amanda Brice

There is also a company: 
THE ANIMAL WORLD SHOW LIMITED
address: MILLBANK TOWER , MILLBANK , LONDON SW1P 4QP  (same as ADI  in the UK)


Jan Creamer, the main spokesperson and founder of ADI has eight company director or secretarial appointments. The following companies were created by ADI:
 
ANIMAL DEFENDERS INTERNATIONAL
  
Active
ANIMAL DEFENDERS (CAMPAIGNS) LIMITED
  
Active
ANIMAL DEFENDERS (CAMPAIGNS) LIMITED
  
Active
THE ANIMAL WORLD SHOW LIMITED
  
Active
THE ANIMAL WORLD SHOW LIMITED
  
Active
NATIONAL ANTI-VIVISECTION SOCIETY LIMITED(THE)
  
Active
NATIONAL ANTI-VIVISECTION SOCIETY LIMITED(THE)
  
Active
NAVS PROMOTIONS LIMITED
  
Dissolved
 
ADI reported in the 2012 Bobby Roberts case that it employed a total of 12 members of staff.

All Work and No Pay?

ADI are not registered with the Charity Commission in the UK.  As a result, unlike registered charities such as the RSPCA they do not come under the scrutiny of the Commission.  They are registered as a charity in the USA, but then so are other extremist animal rights groups like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States).

This is ADI’s own breakdown of their finances for the last three years as presented on their website(http://www.ad-international.org/publications/go.php?id=2574):

2011 (ADI, LDF, NAVS Group finances worldwide)

Income:
£1,297,443
Legacies
 (59%)
Donations
 (20%)
Fundraising & Merchandise
 (5%)
Grant Received
 (13%)
Income From Investments
 (2%)
Interest & Other Income
 (0.3%)
Expenditure:
£2,952,913
Campaigns (includes Investigations, Public Awareness, Advertising, Rescues, Publications)
(81%)
Legal & Professional
(3%)
Bank Charges, Taxation, Depreciation, (Corporation Tax, Irrecoverable VAT, Interest)
(5%)
General Office Running Costs (includes rent & rates, fuel & light, telephone, computer/network maintenance, correspondence, photocopying, equipment, insurance, office staff costs)
 (7%)
LDF Research Grants
 (4%)
Cost of Merchandise & Prize Draw (includes purchase of merchandise and delivery costs, catalogue printing etc.)
(0.1%)

2010  (ADI, LDF, NAVS Group finances worldwide)

Income:
£2,414,259
Legacies
(59.75%)
Donations
(10.5%)
Fundraising & Merchandise
(3%)
Grant Received
(26.25%)
Income From Investments
(0.1%)
Interest & Other Income
(0.40%)
Expenditure:
£2,902,519
Campaigns (includes Investigations, Public Awareness, Advertising, Rescues, Publications)
(79.25%)
Legal & Professional
(3.25%)
Bank Charges, Taxation, Depreciation, (Corporation Tax, Irrecoverable VAT, Interest)
(4.5%)
General Office Running Costs (includes rent & rates, fuel & light, telephone, computer/network maintenance, correspondence, photocopying, equipment, insurance, office staff costs)
(6.25%)
LDF Research Grants
(6%)
Cost of Merchandise & Prize Draw (includes purchase of merchandise and delivery costs, catalogue printing etc.)
(0.75%)

2009(Income and Expenditure for the ADI group based in London)

Income:
£2,075,938
Legacies
 (59.75%)
Donations
(10.5%)
Fundraising & Merchandise
(3%)
Grant Received
(26.25%)
Income From Investments
(0.1%)
Interest & Other Income
(0.40%)
Expenditure:
£1,792,947
Campaigns (includes Investigations, Public Awareness, Advertising, Rescues, Publications)
 (79.25%)
Legal & Professional
(3.25%)
Bank Charges, Taxation, Depreciation, (Corporation Tax, Irrecoverable VAT, Interest)
(4.5%)
General Office Running Costs (includes rent & rates, fuel & light, telephone, computer/network maintenance, correspondence, photocopying, equipment, insurance, office staff costs)
(6.25%)
LDF Research Grants
(6%)
Cost of Merchandise & Prize Draw (includes purchase of merchandise and delivery costs, catalogue printing etc.)
(0.75%)


It is notable that ADIs expenditure records do not differentiate between “campaign”, “investigation” and “rescue” costs. These items are really very different from each other.  Whilst rescue operations can only be carried out when animals are in actual danger, investigations and campaigns can be carried out at whim.  Furthermore, ADI’s “investigations” have been proven in two cases to resort to illegal means.


It would be interesting to know the proportion of funds which ADI has spent on illegal activities such as bribing false witnesses and paying extremists to carry out criminal acts.  Unfortunately, these figures are unsurprisingly not publicised in their accounts.  We must bear in mind that although only these two cases have blossomed into fully fledged legal proceedings, it is unlikely that ADI only resorted to these methods twice and gained two successes.

Let's Go to the Circus

From the early 1990's ADI pushed a public campaign against animal circuses. They produced a film called "Circus Madness" which used undercover footage, which would become a trademark of their “investigations”.

ADI’s immoderate investigative methods have come to public attention on two notable recent cases.

In December 2009, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus defeated a lawsuit by a U.S. animal-rights group accusing them of abusing a group of elephants (
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=abzElI3fMwZc&pos=9T).  U.S. District Judge Sullivan said that Tom Rider, an elephant groom and the main witness for the animal rightists, lied about payments he received from various animal rights groups beginning in 2000:
                                                                                                
“Mr. Rider was repeatedly impeached, and indeed was pulverized on cross-examination,” Sullivan said in the ruling. “The court finds that Mr. Rider is essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness who is not credible.”

It emerged that Rider had been paid $190,000 to lie in court by PETA, an organization that seems to have more than a enough links, shared operatives and combined campaigns with ADI that one might consider comfortable for a reputable "animal welfare" organization. ADI's report on his time working there made a two page spread in The Mirror newspaper. The claims made against the elephant owner were so hotly denied that a complaint was made to the Press Complaints Commission.

More recently, in November 2012, ADI were criticised for their tactics against the Roberts family in the case about Anne the elephant.  ADI admitted to employing Robert Cogswell to plant a camera that recorded the condemning evidence. Cogswell, who was giving evidence for the prosecution, revealed under cross-examination that he had connections to major extremist animal rights groups. He has been involved with PETA (who have collaborated with ADI on several campaigns), SPEAK (a militant anti-vivisection activist group that was so forceful it prompted the UK government to pass a law that restricted protesting) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), an international, underground group that freely engages in illegal direct action, including criminal activities and terrorism.  A Google search of Cogswell reveals that he is quick to defend his cause as being non violent. However, during his cross-examination, it was revealed that he had been convicted for possession of a firearm with intent to kill or cause serious harm.   Aside from his past criminal activities, which hardly suggest him as a reliable employee, in order to plant the camera he had to engage in trespass and criminal damage, both of which are offences.  In essence, ADI paid a convicted criminal to carry out criminal activities.

This is a report from a court observer of Robert Cogswell’s testimony in the Roberts' case:
  • Then the first witness was called: Robert John Cogswell, ADI Investigations Manager.
  • He admitted to being the one who planted the camera, at Jan Creamer’s instruction, to investigate possible abuse.
  • He described his procedure for doing this, beginning with online searches to find the farm layout and anything else they could. They then did day and night reconnaissance visits to assess the movements of the staff.
  • On the 2nd December 2010 he visited the site and used the footpath alongside the farm to look for an access point that would keep him clear of the staff and others living on the site. Luckily he “found” a hole that had been made by some animal and was just big enough for him to get through. He also found that the barn was built by Blueline and from them he obtained details of the barns construction, specifically the details of the bolts used and from that information says that he manufactured a “Bolt extractor”, so that he could remove a bolt from the barn and insert a camera.
  • He returned to the farm on 21st Jan 2011 with a Mr Hill and went through to the barn and found he didn’t need to remove a bolt, because there was an almost perfectly sized hole that he found covered by a piece of putty. He says he placed the camera and used a portable LCD screen to line it up, then he laid out more cable and connected the camera to a Digital Video Recorder, which he hid in the bushes on the footpath side of the fence.
  • He then returned every few days to replace the hard-drive in the DVR (they had 1x60GB and 1x120GB).
  • The footage was then downloaded to a Master drive at his home and a copy handed to Ricardo Fajardo at ADI for processing. (Fajardo no longer works for ADI)
  • Cogswell also stated that some sections of the footage were missing “due to technical errors”.
  • Prompted by the prosecution he admits to having a previous conviction for possessing a firearm in 1993. He says it was to fit in with his cover, while investigating dog-fights.  He states he pleaded guilty and it was blamed on youth and stupidity.
  • Then Claire Howlett cross-examined for the defence.
  • She pointed out that his conviction was actually “Possession of a firearm, with intent to kill, or cause harm.
  • Cogswell said that now he tries to stay within the law, so Howlett pointed out that he has committed trespass and criminal damage, or burglary when he went onto the Roberts’ property to put the camera in. He admits that he trespassed, but says he thinks it is acceptable to break some minor (civil) laws when an animal might be being beaten.
  • He stated that he only had suspicions of any cruelty, but was instructed to install the camera by Jan Creamer.
  • When asked if he would publicise criminal activity in the name of animal rights, he answered “Yes”. He went on to say that he does condone acts of physical violence on property, but not on people.
  • Howlett said that he was also the co-founder of the Speak website (“The Voice for the Animals”) and had repeatedly publicised the Animal Liberation Front, who promote and incite violence. She had copies of his teachings on how to target anyone who used any part of Oxford University, from the current SPEAK campaign against the University’s Biomedical Sciences Building. She got him to admit that the ALF are an “Extreme AR group” and then read the comments from an Appeals Court hearing, where the Judge described Cogswell as “effectively a PR agent for the ALF”.
  • Then Howlett said that he used to be employed by PeTA, another extreme AR group.
  • Cogswell described the great care he took to back-up and document everything, so that it could be used as evidence, but when asked about the video footage he had said that he recorded of the barn, from the outside, before he found the hole covered by putty for the camera, he says that he either deleted, or recorded over that piece of footage, as he didn’t think it would be needed.
  • Of the camera he fitted into the hole in the barn, he said that it wasn't a low-light, or infrared camera, so it did not have any night time footage.
  • He was then asked about previous ADI investigations and admits that they have paid grooms and others to work at circuses in the past, but says that they hadn’t managed to “get anyone in” at Bobby Roberts Super Circus.
  • He said that the first footage from the camera was collected, seen to show some abuse from the groom and passed to ADI on 22nd Jan 2011, but couldn’t say why the authorities were not informed at that time.

At the end of the trial, District Judge Chinery also publicly criticised ADI for their decision to hand over the footage to the media, rather than to the police or the RSPCA. As reported in The Examiner, the Judge raised two extremely valid points.

Firstly, the fact that the footage was publicised before any legal proceedings could take place led to the owner and his wife being "tried by the public" and put the Roberts' family in danger. Not only had they received threats via email and social networking sites, but even their grandchildren were being bullied and ostracised at school.

Secondly, ADI sat on the evidence for two months. If their main concern was the welfare of the elephant, why would they wait that long? As Judge Chinery pointed out, "if the plight of such an animal is reported to the RSPCA immediately, they will take steps to ensure the safety of the animal without delay and if appropriate work with the owner to re-home the animal or ensure its future in its current environment."

"The conclusion to which I am drawn therefore is that Anne's welfare was only a part of the objective by ADI; they have a wider agenda, much of which has been alluded to by defence counsel."

ADI also published information on Facebook and Twitter regarding the trial while it was still ongoing and removed it after public complaints were made to the court.  Please see a screenshot below, taken before the post was removed:





Complaints and the Truth

ADI has also not been reluctant to doctor the “information” they provide to the media, and then to openly lie about it.  Their crusade against Chipperfield Enterprises is a prime example.

In May 1996, ADI produced a video which was shown on "Here and Now".  The video was alleged to show terrified animals at Chipperfield's Farm, with the claim that the animals had not left these quarters for months and that they were mentally disturbed.  In order to produce the video, ADI had broken into Chipperfield's Farm at night and shone lights into animals' eyes in their sleeping quarters.  Unsurprisingly, the startled animals looked disconcerted.

Part of the footage show in the video was produced by Terry "Spike" Stocker, an ADI undercover cameraman.  As ADI admitted, he was an ADI plant, who had managed to obtain employment at Chipperfield’s Farm;

"The incidents were documented on videotape by Terry Stocker of Animal Defenders, who worked for the Chipperfield’s incognito to gather evidence, assisted at times by fellow Animal Defenders member Rachel White, who posed as his girlfriend."

"Five of the AD team had been called as witnesses: Jan Creamer, Tony Pattinson, Tim Phillips, Terry Stocker and Rachel White."

After several months of working there, he had gained enough trust for the owners to entrust him to look after a group of tigers whilst they were briefly away from the premises.  During this time, he kept the tigers in their dens, in breach of normal procedures, and managed to produce time-coded footage – in fact the only time-coded footage used in the final video.

After the "Here and Now" broadcast Chipperfield Enterprises constructed new outside enclosures for animals returning to their farm. However, this does not imply nor suggests that exercise pens were lacking before. 

Chipperfield’s appealed to the BSC (Broadcasting Standards Commission).  65 witnesses testified that the animals had been sent out to their exercise enclosures on a daily basis. Vets who knew them and an animal psychologist testified to their excellent mental health.  The BCS instructed the BBC in May 1997 to broadcast that the circus complaints against the unfairness (or inaccuracy) of the video shown by ADI in May 1996 had been upheld.  However, that was not the end of the lies ADI resorted to.

Jan Creamer, President and founder of Animal Defenders International, wrote a letter to the Thanet Times in response to a letter published from a circus supporter.  Ignoring the fact that the BCS had supported the Chipperfield’s complaints, Creamer reiterated the allegations made on the original video.  Creamer stated that the BCS ruling was "...an issue regarding right to reply; not accuracy of [ADI's] evidence". In actual fact, the opposite is true.
The only complaint not upheld by the BSC was that Richard Chipperfield was not given the chance to reply. He had been offered the chance and he had refused. Creamer's letter to the "Thanet Times" was completely inaccurate from start to finish.


Update 1 May 2013

Reproduced from Ray Dolling's article in "Panthera" magazine.  March 2013

The rise and rise of Animal Defenders

Animal Defenders International has come a long way since it was formed in 1990 by Janet Creamer. She had been working for the National Anti-Vivisection Society (formed in 1875) first as a volunteer and then as an employee, since 1969 when she was 17. She used her skills as a graphic designer to produce the society's magazine and began giving interviews and talks before being appointed Chief Executive. She then set up Animal Defenders and moved the two groups from their small office in Harley Street to Goldhawk Road in West London. Further expansion has seen another move, to an expensive suite of offices in Westminster - Millbank Tower - with a staff of 15 and an annual income of nearly £1.5m mainly derived from donations and legacies. Animal Defenders carefully conceals its status as a limited company whose directors include Ms. Creamer and her husband Tim Phillips.

The pair met when he was running his own small animal rights group, the Central Animal Liberation League with a weekly magazine 'Turn Point' and married in 1996. He was inspired by watching Victor Schonfield's documentary 'The Animals Film' on Channel 4 in 1981. Within two weeks he had become a vegetarian, left his banking job, purchased a camera and began going undercover to capture footage of animals in laboratories and circuses. He has never denied being the cameraman responsible for the images included in the BBC programme 'Here and Now' which showed animals at the Chipperfield winter quarters, startled by being disturbed in the early hours of the morning, looking distressed. The resulting complaints to the Broadcasting Standards Commission were upheld.

At the suggestion in 1996 of the late American animal rights activist Pat Derby, Animal Defenders opened a branch on Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles and adopted the epithet 'Animal Defenders International'.

The operation of ADI is obviously a successful collaboration for Mr and Mrs Phillips enabling them to live on River Mount the private road in leafy Walton-on-Thames known in the 'gin and jag belt' as 'Millionaires' Row'.
 


Trial by Media.. and what the papers didn't tell you.




Via: birdcompanions.com

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

2 comments:

  1. Let us remember the words of Voltaire, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Jan Creamer may want to use it in ad campaigns, because that shoe sure fit's her..............

    Wade Burck

    ReplyDelete
  2. ADI are the ones behind the current proposal to ban elephants in LA. These are the current active extremists we need to fight! Thank you for posting about them!

    ReplyDelete