Following a recent meeting with PETA India, BookMyShow – India’s largest online ticketing portal – has removed circuses using animals from its platform. As a result, a billboard placed by PETA India outside BookMyShow’s corporate office asking the company to stop supporting animal circuses has been replaced with one featuring boxer Vijender Singh that reads “Knock Out Cruelty: Boycott Circuses”. The company has verbally pledged to PETA India that it will introduce an official policy banning animal circuses.
The e-ticketing platform has sold tickets for Rambo Circus – whose owner was recently arrested for various violations of animal protection laws and released on bail – Great Gemini Circus, Ajanta Circus, and others. The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) recently sought action against Ajanta Circus for using animals without the required certification.
Circuses are so notorious for their cruelty to animals and disregard of animal protection laws that in 2017, 2019, and 2020, the AWBI advised the central government to pass legislation to stop the use of animals in circuses. Last year, the Central Zoo Authority cancelled its recognition of the Great Golden Circus, the only circus that was still using elephants for performances.
Appeals from 100 veterinarians in different states and a petition signed by 1 lakh students from private and government schools all across the country addressed to the minister of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying asking to establish laws that would prohibit the use of animals in circuses cited numerous reasons why circuses must be barred from using animals.
Several AWBI inspections and numerous investigations by PETA India prove that animal circuses are cruel: in circuses, 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. Through physical abuse with weapons, they’re forced to perform confusing, uncomfortable, and even painful tricks. Many display stereotypic, repetitive behaviour indicative of extreme stress.