Chained and ‘Bloodied’ ‘Elephants’ To Call on Ministry to End Animal Slavery in Circuses

For Immediate Release:
8 December 2014

Nikunj Sharma; [email protected]
Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

PETA and FIAPO Will Team Up to Urge Government to Ban Animal Use in Circuses in the Run-Up to Human Rights Day and Animal Rights Day

New Delhi – Shackled in chains, wearing elephant masks and holding out the palms of their hands painted blood red, members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) will call on the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change to ban animal use in circuses just in time for Human Rights Day, which is also International Animal Rights Day (10 December). The protest also seeks to break down the imaginary barrier between humans and other species that leads humans to mistreat animals.

When:             Tuesday, 9 December, 12 pm sharp

Where:           Jantar Mantar, Sansad Marg, Connaught Place, New Delhi

“Child labour, human slavery and the oppression of women and minorities were addressed only after forward-thinking people challenged the status quo”, says PETA India Campaign Strategist Nikunj Sharma. “Now, it’s high time to make the enslavement and torture of animals in circuses a thing of the past.”

The findings of PETA India’s investigation of circuses in India included rampant use of torture devices; 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-mutilation, and the use of elephants and other animals who were nearly blind or had severe eye problems.

As a result, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has now de-recognised six circuses as captive-animal facilities and urged the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to cancel one’s permission to perform. In addition, in a letter addressed to the AWBI, the Animal Welfare Division of the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change also stated that “(i) AWBI should take necessary steps to deregister the animals used in the circuses in a phased manner wherever cruelty is involved. (ii) AWBI should also make arrangement for rehabilitation of the deregistered animals. (iii) AWBI should not register any new animal hereafter”. The CZA’s action means that the affected circuses can no longer train, exhibit or use any wild animals protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, including elephants. The CZA notice also means that state forest departments must cancel the ownership certificates for the elephants that they had issued to these circuses, confiscate the elephants and move them immediately to a sanctuary.

PETA India and FIAPO are now calling on the ministry to ban the use of animals in circuses outright, as Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus and Greece have already done.