Following a petition filed by Thrissur Town East City Police and a subsequent petition filed by PETA India under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017, the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court (JFCM), Thrissur, through an order dated 11 May 2023, awarded interim custody of four exotic wild birds (three macaws and one cockatoo) to the Thiruvananthapuram Zoo, where they were transported from Great Bombay Circus by Thrissur’s chief veterinary officer and Thrissur police on Saturday. Also, following a complaint from PETA India, the central government statutory body the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) issued a show cause notice to the circus, requiring it to explain why its performing animals registration certificate (PARC) should not be suspended immediately.
PETA India’s petition was filed in the first information report (FIR) proceedings based on its complaint to Thrissur police against the circus for mutilating birds and using animals for performances in violation of its PARC. After perusal of the government veterinarian reports, the JFCM Thrissur observed that a prima facie case of cruelty to birds was made out, and accordingly, the seizure of the birds was directed. In addition, Great Bombay Circus was ordered to execute a bond of Rs 5,00,000 with an undertaking to pay the amount towards the transportation and daily care of the birds. This is not the first time Great Bombay Circus has been accused of mutilating birds’ wings. In October 2022, Mysuru police registered an FIR against the proprietor of Great Bombay Circus for the same offences.
Several AWBI inspections and numerous investigations by PETA India have proved that circuses that use animals are inherently cruel: the animals are continuously chained or confined to small, barren cages; deprived of veterinary care and adequate food, water, and shelter; and denied everything that’s natural and important to them. They’re forced to perform confusing, uncomfortable, and even painful tricks under threat of physical abuse with weapons. Many display stereotypic, repetitive behaviour indicative of extreme stress.