Delhi High Court Issues Notices on PETA India Petition to Ban Use of Animals in Circuses

For Immediate Release:

21 July 2020


Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

Group Informed Court that Animals Stranded in Circuses Are Starving

New Delhi – Today, based on a Public Interest Litigation filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India in the High Court of Delhi seeking an immediate ban on the use of animals in circuses by notifying the Performing Animals (Registration) (Amendment) Rules, 2018, the court issued notices to the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying; the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI); the Central Zoo Authority (CZA); and the circuses. The matter is now listed for hearing on 17 August.

“The central government proposal to ban use of animals in circuses in India has been delayed for over a year, and animals continue to suffer,” says PETA India Senior Legal Counsel Swati Sumbly. “Many countries, including Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Greece, Guatemala, Italy, and Malta have banned the use of animals in circuses, and we’re hoping that with the intervention of the honourable court, justice will be served.”

The petition notes that cruelty to animals is inherent and rampant in circuses, which often use weapons to control them and abuse them in other ways, commonly violating animal protection laws. In view of the present public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – an infection believed to have spread from animals to humans – the group also stresses in its petition the risk circuses pose in spreading deadly zoonotic diseases (those which can spread from animals to humans) such as tuberculosis from elephants and glanders from horses. It has asked the High Court to ensure that animals currently used by circuses are sent to sanctuaries or rehabilitation centres in the case of animals like elephants, horses, camels, and birds – or, in the case of dogs, adopted into loving homes.

Numerous inspections carried out by the AWBI and CZA – in which PETA India representatives were also involved – reveal that animals in circuses are continuously chained or caged and deprived of veterinary care, adequate food, sufficient water, and suitable shelter. They’re forced to perform confusing, uncomfortable, and even painful tricks and denied everything that’s natural and important to them. Many display stereotypic, repetitive behaviour indicative of extreme stress.

Since 2015, because of the efforts of PETA India and other animal protection groups – and with the help of the police and forest departments – more than 100 animals, including 15 captive elephants and many horses, camels, dogs, and birds, have been rescued and rehabilitated and moved to sanctuaries.

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit