Animals Seized from Moonlight Circus to Get New Lease on Life

For Immediate Release:
8 April 2015

Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

PETA Investigation Prompts Momentous Order for Confiscation of All Animals Held by Circus

Delhi – Thanks to a nine-month-long Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) authorised inspection of 16 circuses by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India – which prompted the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to revoke their recognition of the Moonlight Circus and AWBI to rescind the circus’s registration of their animals – freedom from cruelty is finally on the way for the animals who were once imprisoned by the Moonlight Circus. The Nanded district Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court dismissed the circus’s plea to retain custody of the animals, as the investigation report found that elephants were restrained at all times; camels, horses, dogs and birds were housed in cramped and filthy living spaces and all the animals were deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. The rescue was a joint effort of animal-protection organisations across India – including PETA India, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, People for Animals (PFA) –Hyderabad, PFA-Pune, PFA-Uttarakhand, PFA-Wardha, Resquink Association for Wildlife Welfare, Thane Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Wildlife SOS. The birds, camel, horses and dogs have been moved to PFA-Wardha, and the four rescued elephants will be moved to the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center, where they will be rehabilitated.

“Every single animal who suffered in the Moonlight Circus now finally has the chance of a brighter future”, says PETA India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura. “PETA ask families to steer clear of circuses for the sake of animals like these, who deserve far better than a lifetime of pain and deprivation.”

Moonlight Circus’ continuous failure to improve conditions for the animals in its care was documented by PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”. PETA India’s investigation of 16 circuses was conducted from November 2012 to July 2013, and the findings included rampant use of torture devices; animals who had died from inadequate care or who had simply “gone missing”; drunken circus staff who handled the animals; nearly constant chaining, caging and other severe confinement of elephants, dogs, cats, birds and other animals; animals who showed signs of severe psychological distress, including constant swaying, circling and even self-mutilation and the use of elephants and other animals who were nearly blind or had other severe eye problems, among other cruelty.

This is the second seizure of animals used by circuses as a result of PETA’s investigation, with the first being Paruh – an elephant who was partially blind, malnourished and suffering from skin lesions and chipped nails – from SAM Circus, whose recognition was revoked by CZA and AWBI. In addition, AWBI have also revoked the performing-animal certificates of three of the circuses – including SAM, Gemini and Jamuna – and CZA have rescinded their recognition of six circuses as captive-animal facilities and directed AWBI to cancel the permission for SAM Circus to perform, as the circus had not even bothered to apply for CZA recognition.

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