Animal Welfare Board Calls On West Bengal to Seize Animals From Ajanta Circus Following PETA India Complaint
After receiving a complaint from PETA India, the AWBI wrote to the director of the Department of Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Services (AHVS) and the member secretary of the Calcutta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA) calling on them to seize and rehabilitate the animals from Ajanta Circus immediately. The circus is reportedly using animals for performance without a performing animals registration certificate (PARC). On 17 January 2022, the AWBI cancelled the circus’s PARC, which had been issued in 2009.
PETA India’s eyewitness investigation into Ajanta Circus, camped at Sinthi More Mela Ground in Baranagar, Kolkata, on 23 January revealed that the circus is using horses, dogs, and birds for performances, in violation of the AWBI’s order.
The AWBI, which is the prescribed authority under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, and regulates the use of animals for performances in the country, cancelled the PARC of Ajanta Circus because the circus had failed to respond to a show-cause notice issued on 1 December 2020 and reminders sent on 13 January and 24 August 2021. The AWBI had issued a show-cause notice to the circus for breach of the conditions of registration under the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, by not informing the AWBI before moving to Kishanganj, Bihar, and for concealing the location of animals to avoid an inspection as well as for committing an offence under Section 26 of the PCA Act. The AWBI last received a monthly report from the circus on 3 January 2020.
Before the cancellation of its PARC, the circus had four elephants, five horses, nine dogs, seven cockatoos, and two macaws registered with the AWBI for performance. However, PETA India’s investigation found that the circus is using one horse, four dogs, six cockatoos, and three macaws for performances, indicating that some animals are missing from the circus and that one macaw was added without approval from the AWBI.