PETA India Urges Centre to Ban Animals in Circuses to Help Prevent Future Pandemics

For Immediate Release:

8 May 2020


Hiraj Laljani ; [email protected]

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

Group Says Circuses Are Travelling Carriers of Zoonotic Diseases and Offers Support for Rehabilitation of Animals at Sanctuaries

New Delhi – As the world battles a deadly disease that jumped to humans from other animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India fired off a letter urging the Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying to notify the draft rules framed under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and impose a ban on animal performances and the exhibition of any animals in circuses, stating that circuses are travelling carriers of zoonotic diseases (which can spread from animals to humans).

The draft rules and PETA India’s letter is available for download upon request

In the letter, the group points out that animals commonly used in circuses could transmit zoonotic diseases to humans, such as tuberculosis from elephants, glanders from horses, psittacosis (parrot fever) from birds, camelpox and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – which is caused by a coronavirus, from camels. And amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many circuses are stranded in various places and the animals are suffering from a lack of water and food, which is unlikely to change for some time as the public continues to be wary of crowds, even as lockdowns lift.

“Hauling stressed and potentially sick animals from town to town for meaningless spectacles is reckless and risky – it’s a disaster waiting to happen,” says PETA India CEO Dr Manilal Valliyate. “PETA India is urging officials to ban the use of animals in circuses to help prevent the risk of another devastating pandemic.”

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – notes that, in addition to endangering the public, animal circuses are inherently cruel. Animals are continuously chained or caged and deprived of veterinary care, adequate food, sufficient water, and suitable shelter. They are forced to perform confusing, uncomfortable, and even painful tricks and are denied everything natural and important to them. Many display stereotypic, repetitive behaviour indicative of extreme stress.

PETA India opposes speciesism, the human-supremacist belief system that other animals exist for us to exploit and commodify. Other countries that have banned the use of animals in circuses include Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, and Greece.

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