On New Year's Eve, five minutes before the bell, when all the workers from Circo Roma Dola were in a tent celebrating the start of 2009, three individuals entered the trailer where a baboon enslaved to the circus was kept in a cage. The baboon was led out of her cell, leaving behind what had been her prison for years. Click here for photos from her time in the circus and after her rescue.
"On New Year's Eve 2008, five minutes before midnight, while the workers from Circus Roma Dola – then installed in San Sebastian de Los Reyes in Spain – were in a marquee celebrating the New Year, three animal activists went into the trailer where a caged baboon was being held in slavery and rescued her.
The end of 2008 would also be the end of many years of deprivation of freedom, suffering and desolation for this baboon, while 2009 would be a new year of hope and freedom for her. After opening the bolts of the cage and placing a collar to ease and speed up her rescue, the baboon herself left her cage and ran to freedom, with each step leaving behind her prison over the years, and voluntarily got into the vehicle which sped her away from that place for ever.
Human slaves of the nineteenth century were subject to racism in a period of time in which the colour of their skin was used against them. In the present day, this baboon has been the victim of the speciesism which allowed her to be used against her will as part of a show, and later, when she could no longer complete this task, as a 'pet' and as advertising. The baboon, now named Moses after an ancient freed human slave, has been taken a long way from her exploiters, far enough that she will never be found nor returned to slavery. She will no longer need to be afraid of punishment nor be forced to perform the absurd behaviour she was made to learn to entertain humans. She is currently living in a environment suitable for her needs, being respected and protected by responsible humans who will ensure she now has the fullest and happiest life possible.
This baboon, like all other animals who remain dominated by humans in various sectors, deserved to be free and enjoy her life without being utilised for others to enjoy themselves at her cost. Her rescue, far from being what has so far been stated, has been an action of justice and solidarity towards her.
The media has published statements made by the owner of the circus instead of the facts. As the people who carried out this rescue, we are those who now expose the reality to demonstrate the difference between the truth and previous statements.
• The owner of the circus, in what can only be assumed to be an attempt to avoid problems and legal responsibilities, has publicly lied by saying that the circus had a twenty-four hour security guard. In fact, at night, as well as during the daytime, there was no one around, as anyone from San Sebastian who has visited this place can confirm. We could have rescued this baboon any single night, but New Year's Eve was the most secure for us and for her.
• We were able to enter the trailer easily without any need to break the padlock on the door, as has been stated in some of the media, and as on the other occasions in which we had been investigating, we left the padlock hanging on the door without closing it. This fact can be confirmed in the news clip in which the owner of the circus has the padlock in his hand still intact. However, we wish to add that if the padlock had been locked we would not have hesitated to break it, as we would not allow an object such as this to prevent someone's rescue.
• Despite the statements of the exploiter, it was not necessary to administer any type of sedative to Moses, simply opening her cage – closed only with bolts - and placing a collar and leash on her to lead her out. When we left her prison together, she herself ran out towards her freedom, leaving behind her jail with every step and getting into the car herself which would carry her away for ever.
• This rescue has no commercial benefit and is far from being an act of vandalism or robbery as some have thought. Moses was part of a planned rescue from the state of exploitation she was in, carried out for her welfare, with her own interests being central. Unfortunately, there are those that do remove animals from cages only to take them to others while continuing to making a profit from them. This is not the case. We are opposed to animals in circuses and their commercialisation, as slavery is an injustice independent of the species that an individual belongs to. We do not deal in animals nor consider that they can be treated as property who can be bought, sold or stolen.
• Another false statement that has been made is that she “only respects her carer”, referring to the individual responsible for maintaining her as a prisoner in this circus. If she did not attack her slave owner – not 'carer' - it was not out of respect, but because she feared the punishment she would receive if she tried to rebel. Her neck is still scarred from the links of the chain which dug into her neck with each pull given to dominate her.
• The media has presented the baboon as aggressive and dangerous, including showing images of other baboons attacking their young, or with them already dead, in spite of the fact that Moses did not have any offspring nor any relationship with another baboon. Taking advantage of this false presentation we now pose a question: In the case that the baboon had been aggressive, what motive would an animal living in a circus have for displaying aggression? Possibly because of the desperation and psychological torment suffered from having to spend your entire life shut in a cage the size of your sofa, forced to carry out confusing, stupid tricks in order to escape punishment or deprivations?
Considering the type of human contact she has had, it would be logical to expect that the victim would react in an adverse way. However, as can be appreciated in our video footage, her attitude towards us has not been aggressive. Moses has trusted us to let us care for her, play with her, caress her, examine her body to check for injuries, walk with her hand in hand and remove the chain that has been around her neck for almost all her life. Nothing to do, obviously, with the image of her which people have attempted to present.
Finally, we want to dedicate this rescue to all the non-humans which continue to be prisoners in circuses as well as the humans which are prisoners as a consequence of defending other animals.
Put yourself in the place of these and other animals which are being exploited, look beyond the species that they belong to and the differences that exist between us. It is not fair that we continue to take away their freedom and their lives. Take a stance against the exploitation of animals, go vegan and defend them.
Against animal slavery, against speciesism. For an end to animals in circuses, and an end to animal exploitation."