By Hansika Chopra
Tethered elephants, crudely clipped wings, raw wounds, cataracts and partial blindness and animals stuffed into tiny rusted cages like luggage, are common sights behind the gala stage in many of India’s circuses. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India along with Animal Rahat (a non-profit organisation working on animal welfare), conducted an undercover investigation, sanctioned by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) in 16 out of the 20 registered circuses in India and revealed the shocking conditions of circus animals.
The nine month long investigation from November 2012- July 2013 recorded rampant violations of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA), 1960, Performing Animals (Registration) Rules (PAR) and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. According to PAR, every owner with ten or more animals should hire a veterinarian as a regular staff for their care treatment and transport; a blatantly disregarded rule. Other often broken rules include- no transport by road for more than eight hours, ensure proper feeding and watering halts during transport, no exposure to fire during performance or accidents, no injured, sick or pregnant animals should be made to perform.
Despite existing laws and regulations, PETA India is of the view that circuses are not capable of cultivating an animal-friendly environment. The animals, some of which are obtained from questionable sources, are kept in captivity in sub-human conditions leading to severe diseases and most often leading in psychological disorders in the animals. The training methods include use of weapons to induce pain which force the animal to perform ‘entertaining’ acts, which amounts to more broken rules. The animals should not be inflicted unnecessary pain and suffering during performance, training and exhibition and should only be allowed to perform acts which comply with the animal’s basic natural instincts, are some of the rules listed in the PAR.
PETA India is urging the government to follow the example of Bolivia, Cyprus, and Greece and enforce a total ban on using animals in circus. More....