PETA demands complete ban on animals in circuses

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New Delhi: People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has demanded a complete ban on animals, including elephants, in circuses. PETA officials said they found rampant and widespread abuse of various animals, including elephants and exotic birds, used in circuses, during an investigation of circuses across India along with NGO 'Animal Rahat' authorised by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
The team inspected 16 registered circuses across India during the investigation from November last year to July this year and found only one circus that featured "only human" shows.
PETA officials said they found rampant violations of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA) 1960, Performing Animal Rules and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. "The findings from our extensive investigation reveal that cruelty to animals is inherent in the circus business, a conclusion that has already led numerous countries to ban use of animals in circuses. It is high time for a ban on use of animals in Indian circuses," Dr Manilal Valliyate, director of veterinary affairs at PETA, said.
PETA officials said they have submitted their report to AWBI and Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). The Central Zoo Authority (CZA), through a circular issued in November, 2009, has already banned elephants from zoo collections throughout the country.
PETA has demanded that AWBI deregister all animals used by circuses and no more animals should be registered to circuses. PETA officials said since circuses are classified under zoo collections as per the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, CZA should confirm a ban on use of elephants in circuses by enforcing its circular issued in 2009.
"Once AWBI deregisters animals in circuses, CZA should remove it from the definition of 'zoo collections' under the Recognition of Zoo Rules 2009," PETA has recommended. The investigations revealed that there was rampant use of weapons, including iron hooks with knife-like ends, on animals and many of the animals had died from inadequate care or had simply gone missing.
PETA investigations also found that nearly constant chaining and caging was done to elephants, dogs and various animals. The team also found drunk circus staff handling the animals. "Frightened animals were made to perform dangerous acts in violation of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules 2001 and there was also use of animals not registered with AWBI amongst others. In many cases, it was found that wings of birds were cut with scissors or blades," Valliyate said.
PETA report said in March, an elephant died during transport reportedly as a result of negligence on the part of circus staff.

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