PETA Urges Goa Police, Forest Department to Rescue Animals from Moonlight Circus

For Immediate Release:
7 March 2014

Bhuvaneshwari Gupta; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

Group Continues Call for Ban on Animal Circuses

Margao – Following the recent arrest of the owner of the Moonlight Circus in Margao for alleged rape and human trafficking, the elephants, horses and other animals in the circus have reportedly been left to starve, prompting People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to appeal to the Goa Forest Department, police and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to take immediate action to care for the animals. Reportedly, four elephants, five horses, a camel, 14 dogs, three goats and 17 parrots have been left behind.

PETA has also sent a new appeal to the AWBI, a statutory body operating under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, requesting that it implement the decision it made in August 2013 – as confirmed in the official minutes of its 39th general meeting– to “stop immediate performance of all the injured and aged animals in the circuses mentioned in [PETA’s investigative] report” and to “stop registration of elephants for performance under Performing Animals Rules in view of huge cruelties and abuse suffered by them”. PETA has also sent another appeal to the Ministry of Environment and Forests urging it to follow the lead of Bolivia, Greece, Cyprus and Bosnia and Herzegovina by banning the use of animals in circuses.

The report referenced in the AWBI’s meeting minutes was prepared by PETA following an investigation of 16 circuses across the country as authorised by the AWBI. PETA inspected the Moonlight Circus in December 2012. The group found numerous cruelty-to-animals violations, including the keeping of weapons, the presence of numerous animals who were not registered with the AWBI, animals with wounds and injuries, inadequate food and water, a dog who was blind in one eye, dogs and birds kept in cages, birds with their wings clipped, an elephant who was blind in one eye, elephants bound by heavy chains and elephants engaging in abnormal stereotypical behaviour such as head-bobbing, weaving and swaying.

“Had the government followed the lead of numerous other nations by banning the archaic and cruel use of animals in circuses, this atrocity and so many others could have been prevented”, says PETA India CEO Poorva Joshipura. “We hope the allegations of rape and human trafficking as well as the abandonment of animals used by the Moonlight Circus act as a wake-up call to the government to take a serious look at this abusive industry, which has a history of using unwilling participants, humans and animals alike. PETA continues its call for a ban on the use of animals in circuses.”

PETA’s investigation of circuses across India was conducted from November 2012 to July 2013. The findings include documentation of rampant apparent violations of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960; the Performing Animals Rules and the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, among other guidelines. A copy of PETA’s report detailing its findings at Moonlight Circus and PETA’s letters to authorities are available upon request.