FIR Filed Against Great Bharat Circus for Illegaly Using Animals for Perfomance

For Immediate Release:

3 December 2019


Nikunj Sharma; [email protected]

Hiraj Laljani ; [email protected]

Navi Mumbai Police Acted on Complaint From PETA India and Animal Welfare Board Representative

Mumbai – Yesterday, after receiving a complaint from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) Honorary District Animal Welfare Officer Sunish Subramanian regarding cruelty to animals used illegally for performances by the Great Bharat Circus, the Kamothe Police Station in Navi Mumbai filed a First Information Report (FIR) against the circus.

The FIR was registered under Section 188 of The Indian Penal Code, 1860, for flouting an order of a government official; Sections 22 and 26 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, for using animals for performances without registering them with the AWBI; Section 11(1)(a) of the PCA Act, 1960, for treating animals cruelly, including by beating them; and Section 11(1)(b) for using unfit animals who had wounds on their legs.

“The findings from our investigations of circuses over the years reveal that cruelty to animals is inherent in the circus business, a conclusion that has already led numerous countries to ban the use of animals in circuses,” says Nikunj Sharma, associate director of policy at PETA India. “It is high time that a ban on the use of animals in Indian circuses were introduced. Any delay will mean continued abuse of dogs, horses, camels, goats, birds, elephants, and other animals. In the meantime, PETA India is calling on everyone to stay away from animal circuses, as they make the lives of the animals they use a living nightmare.”

A PETA India investigation released last month revealed rampant abuse of a horse, a mule, two camels, seven dogs, and two emus used by the Great Bharat Circus. Following a complaint by the group, supported by the investigative findings of illegality and cruelty, the AWBI ordered an inspection of the circus by a team including Mr Subramanian. The team conducted its inspection of the circus on 1 December and – since the findings confirmed the observations of cruelty and illegality made by the PETA India investigators – decided to file a police complaint. PETA India joined the complaint by providing crucial photo and video evidence of cruelty to animals committed by the circus.

Some of the principal findings of PETA India’s investigation into the Great Bharat Circus are listed below:

  • A camel with an untreated and infected wound on the left hind leg was bleeding while being forced to perform.
  • The other camel had a serious jaw injury that prevented the animal from closing his or her mouth.
  • Dogs were made to perform meaningless tricks such as rolling barrels with their forelegs and walking awkwardly on their hind legs.
  • The two emus were kept in small cages without adequate food and water.
  • The horse and the mule were tethered with short ropes that restricted their movement, causing them extreme stress.
  • During the acts, the human performer hit the camels, the dogs, and the horse several times.

A copy of PETA India’s investigation report is available for download upon request

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – is now calling on the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying to finalise the draft notification banning the use of all animals in circuses. In doing so, India would follow the lead of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Malta, and Greece – countries that have already banned all animal acts from circuses.

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