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PETA Investigates Circus Abuse

Written by PETA

Posted 09-04-2013, 12:38 PM | 177 Comments

A nine-month-long investigation of circuses across India conducted by a team that included representatives from PETA India and Animal Rahat and was authorised by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has revealed rampant and widespread abuse of elephants, horses, camels, dogs, birds and other animals used in circuses.

The investigation included inspections of the Amar Circus, the Gemini Circus, the Great Bombay Circus, the Great Champion Circus, the Great Golden Circus, the Jamuna Circus, the Jumbo Circus (Unit 1), the Jumbo Circus (Unit 2), the Kohinoor Circus, the Metro Circus, the Moonlight Circus, the Rajkamal Circus, the Rambo Circus, the SAM Circus, the Great Prabhath Circus and the Great Royal Circus.

The findings include documentation of rampant apparent violations of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960; the Performing Animals Rules, 1973; and the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, among other guidelines aimed to protect animals from abuse.

Of the inspected circuses, the Great Champion Circus was the only one featuring human-only shows. The findings at the 15 other circuses included the following issues:

  • Rampant use of weapons, including iron hooks with knife-like ends (ankuses), sticks with protruding nails, whips and clubs as well as animals with fresh bleeding wounds and injuries from the use of weapons

 Camel hit with stick in Jumbo Circus.

Ankushes and nail-tipped stick found in Rambo Circus.

Elephant hit on the face in Great Prabhat Circus.

Dog hit with stick in SAM Circus. 

Ankush used on elephant in Rajkamal Circus.

  • Animals who had died from inadequate care or who had simply gone “missing”

33-year-old Sadhana died in Jamuna Circus, which lacked a full-time veterinarian.

  • Drunken circus staff who were handling animals

Inebriated mahout at Rajkamal Circus.

  • Nearly constant chaining and caging and other severe confinement of elephants, dogs, cats, birds such as emus and other animals 

 Elephant in spiked chain at Rambo Circus. 

Dogs forced to live on iron mesh at Moonlight Circus. 

Birds in tiny barren cages at Amar Circus. 

  • Elephants, camels, dogs and other animals who showed signs of severe psychological distress, including constant swaying, circling and even self-biting

This camel in Great Bombay Circus bites himself from frustration.

  • Use of elephants and other animals who were nearly blind or had severe eye problems in performances

This elephant is forced to perform in SAM Circus. 

  • Use of old animals in performances and of injured and diseased animals in performances 

Limping dog with wound forced to perform in Rajkamal Circus. 

  • Birds’ wings were crudely cut with blades to prevent them from flying (Cutting birds’ wings can cause bleeding, pain, imbalance and depression in birds.) 

 This bird in Jamuna Circus cannot fly. 

  • Inadequate food, water and shelter for animals 

Rotten filthy bird food at Rajkamal Circus.

No shelter from the heat at Jamuna Circus.

  • Frightened animals who were forced to perform dangerous acts, such as jumping through hoops of fire, in violation of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001 

Animal forced near fire in Jamuna Circus.

  • Use of animals not registered with the AWBI or made to perform acts not registered with the AWBI, in violation of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001 

 Elephants displayed at Jumbo Circus despite AWBI registration having been withdrawn.

Unregistered goats at Moonlight Circus.

Animals were commonly forced to perform unregistered acts like this one in Great Prabhat Circus.

  • The Rajkamal Circus illegally keeping an elephant tusk 

 Tusk kept illegally found at Rajkamal Circus.

  • Breeding of animals, with resulting offspring not registered with the AWBI 

 Unregistered calf at Moonlight Circus.

  • An untrained underage child employed by a circus to shoe a horse (Ill-fitted shoes can cause permanent damage, pain and suffering to a horse.)
  • Evidence of falsification of documents declaring even pregnant and ill animals fit for transport

PETA is calling on the AWBI, the Central Zoo Authority and the Ministry of Environment and Forests to permit only circuses with willing human performers by immediately banning the use of all animals in circuses, following in the lead of Bolivia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Cyprus and Greece – countries which have already banned all animal acts from circuses. In the meantime, PETA is also urging state governments and union territories across India to ban the use of animals in their localities.

You can help bring in the ban. Take action today.

For the detailed report, click here.



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  • Anandita

    That was so cheap.. How can one do this to animals? Animals have not done anything wrong to us.. Then who gave us the right to do this to them?
    We will have to take an action against these people.
    Please let us know if something can be done.

  • Parminder Singh

    So rude and hights of cruelty . Let us a make a strong organisation , to protect animals and there rights .

  • Akshay

    Stop this absolutely Shameful and Disgusting practice of using animals in circuses. BAN IT COMPLETELY!!

  • To ban al animals from circuses now !!!

  • Jaswinder Singh

    Please let me know how can I help such speechless lives of nature. Its shocking to know how can anyone put them to these severe sufferings.

  • Anne Faucher

    Nightmare zoo! Shame on you

  • Binaifer Lalkaka


  • Smaran Mudbidri

    Dont let Circus industry survive if they treat animals like this. I urge all to go to the circus form a mob beat the circus operators black and blue and come back

  • Ankita

    Plz release all poor animal they are in so much pain. Plz stop all evilness in circus

  • Ramkumar

    Really sad. Human cruelty is growing for money. The animals need our helping hand.

  • Lynne Mitchell

    Why is all this animal abuse & cruelty still happening? I hope let’s India succeeds it will b a good thing

  • Sohini

    STOP doing cruelty to these beautiful innocent animals. Get a life u all morons and make circus on yourself. It will be fun to watch. Only some stupid people can love circus. Circus should be banned !!!!

  • Bhupinder

    Peta! It’s time to teach the real animals a lesson! Petition signed already! & for these poor suffering souls, I ask them to please forgive us humans for being the real animals! I am really ashamed to be born human!

  • Bhupinder

    Peta! It’s time to teach the real animals a lesson! Petition signed already! & for these poor suffering souls, I ask them to please forgive us humans for being the real animals! I am really ashamed to be a human!

  • Neha

    These animals are not meant to be treated like this. Nobody has the right to keep them in cages, chained and treated in a way that they get depressed. If humans find this entertaining then maybe humans should also be treated in the same way.

  • Aditya Parmar

    im gonna bomb ur circus if u dont stop.

  • Upasna

    Please stop this… now I am begging. .

  • Bhumija

    circuses should b banned..animals undergo hell lot of pain 2 entertain stupid people who don’t understand that animals don’t deserve to b treated that way.. they have their own lives n don’t need 2 obey anyone..they deserve freedom just like evrybody else..

  • Sandeepa Bhambri

    Man is the only animal who can cross all limits of cruelty for his selfish interests even though he has plenty of other options to earn, eat and be entertained.Humans are the most barbaric , heartless and inhumane beasts in this universe ! Pathetic ! Disgusting ! I am ashamed to be a human !

  • Naman Lamba

    Shut all of them down… They better do some other job for learning..
    1 danda in circus chalane walo k maro to ye b impossible kam karne shuru kar denge.. Totally hate!

  • Govt sgud put a ban on these practices….hang these rascals .they hav no right to live .

  • Sandra

    No animal abuse!

  • Neel

    should ban all those illegal activity in circus or in forest or in daily life..animals are mean to protected not for abusing.

  • Benedict Menezs

    Horrible torturous treatment to defenceless animals. Why were these people not prosecuted? Ban all animals and birds from all circuses. What is the animal welfare board doing. Peta, pl take help of Maneka Gandhi.

  • Please stop all circuses at once and release all those fed up poor animals at once, I hope this goverment does something about this wicked pratice.

  • Please stop this cruelty on animals.

  • Hetal Parekh

    Ban animal use in circuses.

  • Savita Patil


  • Therese Real

    Animals do not belong in the circus. All the circus to be removed and the animals living in their natural environment. The animals should not suffer for the people to be maintained.

  • Sakshi

    This needs to stop.. Animals are not meant to be abused

  • Jenice Nathan

    i pray to god they should be treated the same way in heaven

  • Namta Gupta

    Stop abusing animals…ban circus

  • Anu

    God save them

  • Dipti Sharma

    These people are completely inhuman…. Please govt. do something in the favor of these animals. Get these people some other job in which they don’t hurt animals… These pics are damn disheartening.

  • Yuvraj

    Lookin at such inhuman practices, now humans are supposed to be called animals than animals themselves… Shame on humanity… #Depressed… :(

  • Anusha John

    Please stop. be a human. show compassion.

  • Mukesh

    There is a circus which started near my house in Hyderabad. Can we do something about it?

  • PETA

    @Manjari Hi, please sign the online petition: and share it will all your friends and family too. By doing this, you’ll be asking Indian government officials to ban animals from being exhibited or forced to perform in circuses. Thanks for the support!

  • Manjari

    How can I help? I am so numb upon knowing all this.. I really would want to help these animals out!

  • Manjari

    How can I help? I am so numb upon knowing all this.. I really would want to help these animals out!

  • Raquel Medina

    This is criminal !! Animals are not toys! are not “things”.
    We need circus without animals PLEASE !!

  • Anne Grice

    Please shut down this hell hole and rescue these animals in a clean environment free from these brutal vermin’s calling themselves” humans”! Unacceptable vile cruelty and must end. The government needs to get these people educated because such ignorance and cruelty would destroy every animal in this country!

  • Mónica Valdez Flores

    People wild in tris century…it’s terrible!!!

  • Karen Napolitano

    Hell has a special place for abusers

  • Dajenne

    horrible and totally unnecessary cruelty against living creatures; this has to stop immediately!

  • Person Who Cares For Animals

    Animals are meant to be in the wild, why make them perform acts when ‘humans’ are there and they can put up really good shows. In addition animals are speared by mahouts, no proper shelter and filthy food results in death of these beautiful animals. Ban Animal Circuses.

  • M Fenton

    It horrifies me that humans can be so cruel to the other creatures on this planet, we have absolutely no right. Please show more compassion and end this cruel act.

  • Komal Khanna

    how can a human being b so cruel.shame on this life,if this is what v r doin! I wish v cud help these animals in some way n punish al the culprits

  • Iris Neuwirth


  • Sapna Chouhan

    This has to stop. PETA : please rescue the animals.


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