Central Zoo Authority, Animal Welfare Board Issue Show Cause Notices to Circuses Following PETA Investigation

For Immediate Release

11 March 2014


Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]

Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

CZA Action Also Follows Moonlight Circus Animals Being Left Hungry and Circus Owner’s Arrest

Delhi—Two government bodies—the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI)—have issued show cause notices to circus owners following a nine-month-long investigation of sixteen circuses across India conducted by a team including representatives from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and Animal Rahat and authorised by the AWBI, a statutory body operating under the Ministry of Environment and Forests. CZA’s action also follows news reports of Moonlight Circus animals who were left hungry in Goa after the circus owner was arrested for alleged rape and human trafficking. CZA in its show cause notice conveyed that it is considering withdrawing the recognition of circuses as a ‘captive animal facility’, making them an illegal establishment to keep the custody of any wild animals, such as elephants.PETA India is now calling on the Ministry of Environment and Forests to ban the use of animals in circuses following in the lead of Cyprus, Bolivia, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina—countries that have already done so.

Says Poorva Joshipura, CEO, PETA India, “”Had the government followed the lead of numerous other nations by banning the archaic and cruel use of animals in circuses, the recent atrocity of the animals being left hungry by the Moonlight Circus and so many others cruelties could have been prevented. We hope the recent Moonlight Circus fiasco acts as a wake-up call to the government about the need for a ban on the use of animals in circuses.”

PETA India’s investigation of circuses was conducted from November 2012 to July 2013 and the findings included rampant use of weapons; animals who had died from inadequate care or who had simply gone “missing;” drunken circus staff who were handling animals; nearly constant chaining and 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-biting; the use of elephants and other animals who were nearly blind or had severe eye problems in performances and other cruelties.

In its official 39th general meeting meetings, the AWBI confirmed, “In view of the [PETA India] report, the Board decided to stop immediate performance of all the injured and aged animals in the circuses mentioned in the report and seize them after making arrangement for rehabilitation with some of the AWOs and Zoos.” The notes further stated, “The Board decided to stop registration of elephants for performance under Performing Animals Rules in view of huge cruelties and abuse suffered by them.” The notes also indicate support for a ban on the use of animals in circuses. PETA India is now also calling on the AWBI to implement the decisions it made during this general meeting which was held in August 2013.

To receive a copy of PETA’s circus investigation reports or videos, please contact PETA. For more information, visit PETAIndia.com.