German Court Grants Last Ape in Country’s Circuses His Freedom

For Immediate Release:

2 May 2017


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 222; [email protected]


After Decades of Suffering, 42-Year-Old Chimpanzee Will Be Moved to Accredited Sanctuary Following Campaigning by PETA Germany and Others

London – After years of mounting pressure from PETA Germany and other animal-protection groups – including an appeal from world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall – the Administrative Court of Lüneburg has ruled that Robby, a 42-year-old chimpanzee who has been held captive by Circus Belly for nearly four decades, must be moved to an accredited sanctuary. He is believed to be the last great ape owned by any German circus.

Photos of Robby are also available here, here, and here.

“Our understanding of chimpanzees and other wild animals is so much greater now than it was in the past, and we know that a circus environment can never come close to meeting their complex needs”, says PETA Director Elisa Allen. “After years of abuse, PETA welcomes the decision to move Robby to a sanctuary, where he can finally bond with other chimpanzees and enjoy the pleasures of life that he’s been denied for so long.”

PETA Germany (whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”) notes that Robby spent most of his time at Circus Belly in solitary confinement in a converted trailer – a stark contrast to chimpanzees in the wild, who freely roam and climb in forests and live in large, complex social groups.

While no great apes are currently being exploited by British circuses, lions, tigers, and other wild animals are still suffering for human entertainment, as legislation to ban wild-animal circuses continues to stall under the current government – to the dismay of all animal-welfare groups, the British Veterinary Association, and the overwhelming majority of the public.

For more information on animals in circuses, please visit