The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has passed orders cancelling the recognition of all circuses across the country that make wild animals perform tricks. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) of the MoEFCC made this decision following year-long evaluations by expert officials, in which the housing conditions, upkeep, and maintenance of wild animals were found to be grossly inadequate in circuses.
As an earlier inspection by the Animal Welfare Board of India revealed, animals used in circuses across the country are subjected to chronic confinement, physical abuse, and psychological torment. Whips and other weapons, including ankuses – heavy, sharp steel-tipped rods – are used to inflict pain on animals and beat them into submission. Elephants are forced to perform ridiculous, frightening, and often dangerous tricks under the constant threat of physical punishment from ankuses, which are jabbed into the sensitive skin on the animals’ faces, feet, and knees. Exotic birds like African grey parrots, cockatoos, and macaws used in circuses are continuously caged, and their wings are often clipped, which prevents them from engaging in their most important natural behaviour: flying.
PETA commended the government for its decision to de-recognise circuses using wild animals in India, but more needs to be done. Other countries – including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Greece, and Malta – have already banned the use of all animals in circuses. India must not lag behind.
Also, although this initiative is a step in the right direction to prevent the abuse of wild animals, it won’t be a permanent ban, unless the government makes a policy decision not to recognise any circus that uses wild animals in the future.
More and more people are realising that handlers force animals to do things they would never do in nature through the use of fear, pain, and hunger. They also know that when animals in circuses aren’t performing, they’re kept chained or tethered or are confined to cages barely larger than their own bodies.
Circuses can attract more business by modernising and presenting human-only entertainment. PETA will continue to campaign until the use of all animals in circuses is banned.
You can help animals suffering in circuses. Please take action here to make it known that you want the use of all animals in circuses to be banned.