Yesterday, the animals lost a true champion with the passing of Alexis Diaz Limaco, ADI’s Latin America General Manager. His impact for animals was immense. The ADI family has lost a great friend and colleague.
It was a chance meeting in London over 20 years ago that led Jan and Tim to recruit a young Peruvian for ADI’s undercover team. He would prove to be the vital part of the jigsaw of skills which saw ADIs work change laws and attitudes across Latin America.
He began investigating circuses in Spain and Portugal, securing harrowing footage which subsequently help drive bans in both countries on wild animals in circuses. Then he returned to South America, and truly found his calling.
ADI had rescued Toto the chimpanzee from a circus in Chile and launched a campaign to ban animal circuses, tantalizingly close to a ban in Chile, but a major investigation of the Latin American circus industry was needed. Alexis headed home.
Alexis assembled a team. Moving from country to country, he and his team faced huge risks. In Bolivia, he fought off a gang of circus thugs with his tripod; on another occasion, his leg was broken by a circus after he was caught filming.
For two years, the team was undercover inside circuses in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil. The footage was horrific: appalling living conditions and animals were being beaten, kicked, punched, even having rocks hurled at them.
Alexis headed to the countries where we had the most evidence teaming up with local campaigners to launch the findings, getting our materials printed, organizing press conferences. The investigation shocked the continent, causing public outcry.
Alexis had been a human rights activist and now threw himself into lobbying for circus bans. Bolivia became the first South American country to ban animals in circuses and then, a new challenge emerged…
Continue reading →