Kajal Aggarwal ‘Scarred’ by Ankus in New PETA Campaign Against Circus Cruelty

For Immediate Release:
24 December 2014

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]
Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

Actor Wants Fans to Know That Animals Are Beaten Into Performing

Mumbai – You were arrested by her charm as Nisha in the 2012 film Thuppakki, and you couldn’t take your eyes off her in 2013’s critically acclaimed blockbuster Special 26, but you’ve never seen her like this before. That’s because Kajal Aggarwal, one of Google’s 10 most-searched-for Bollywood celebrities, has teamed up with her friends at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India for a brand-new ad that makes the hideous abuse of animals used in circuses abundantly clear. In the ad, Aggarwal peers into the camera with an ankus (a weapon resembling a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end) in the foreground and a fresh “cut” on her face next to the caption “Try to Relate to Elephants’ Fate – Ban Animal Circuses”. The stunning ad was shot by ace photographer Gaurav Sawn. Aggarwal’s hair styling was done by Amit Thakur, and Raju Jadhav did her make-up.

“As an actor, I perform out of choice. But animals are not given a choice in circuses”, Aggarwal says. “They are made to perform by all sorts of brutal ways, like by caging them, by caning them. They are not given proper veterinary care. They’re not given food. They are tortured with all sorts of instruments and made to perform.”

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 is 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.

Aggarwal mostly appears in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil films. Through her film career, she has become one of the most popular celebrities in South India. Among her awards are the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut, the Vijay Award for Best Actress, the Stardust Award for Superstar of Tomorrow and the Cosmopolitan People’s Choice Award, also for Best Actress.

She was last seen in Yevadu and Govindudu Andarivadele and can next be seen in Temper and Maari.

For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.