Ahead of Children’s Day (14 November), young supporters of PETA India from Little Millennium schools wore animal masks and held signs that read, “Ban Animal Circuses” and “Make Animals Happy, Say No to Animal Circuses”, as they joined other PETA India supporters in horse, elephant, and dog costumes in a demonstration for animals in Prayagraj. They aimed to show their support for PETA India’s request that the central government Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying end the use of animals in circuses and to let passers-by know that animals suffer when forced to perform.
Alok Pandey, principal of Little Millennium, Naini, says “Our school is committed to teaching students about kindness to animals, because we know kind kids grow into responsible adults.”
“We are proud of our association with PETA India and to be able to do our part to help animals suffering in circuses,” adds Anshika Shrivastava, principal of Little Millennium, Baghambari.
Inspections by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and investigations into circuses by PETA India have revealed that animals used in circuses are subjected to chronic confinement, physical abuse, and psychological torment. Workers use whips and other weapons to inflict pain on them, forcing them to perform frightening tricks, including jumping through rings of fire, out of fear of violent punishment. Even when they aren’t performing, these animals endure a lifetime of misery. Their access to water, food, and veterinary care is often severely restricted. Dogs may be crammed into wire cages and rarely let out. Birds are often confined to small, filthy cages, and their wings are crudely clipped so that they cannot fly, and horses are typically kept tethered on short ropes.
Two regulatory bodies, the AWBI and the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), have recognised that animal circuses are inherently cruel and that the use of animals in circuses in India should be prohibited. The AWBI previously advised the central government to pass legislation prohibiting animals in circuses across the country over animal welfare concerns, and the CZA wrote in support of the prohibition of using elephants in circuses for the same reason. The CZA’s purview covers wild animals protected under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. In 2018, the central government issued draft rules proposing to prohibit the use of all animals in circuses across India, but the rules are yet to be passed.
We urge the public to appeal to the central government to prohibit the use of animals in circuses.