Stars and Over 8,000 School and College Students Back Government Proposal to Ban Animal Circuses

For Immediate Release:

24 December 2018


Garima Jain; [email protected]

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

John Abraham, Vidya Balan, and Other Celebrities Sign PETA India’s Petition in Favour of Landmark Animal-Protection Measure

Mumbai – Today, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India submitted petitions with the signatures of over 8,000 school and college students and celebrities – including Raveena Tandon, Sonu Sood, Vidya Balan, Shilpa Shetty-Kundra, John Abraham, R Madhavan, Dia Mirza and Sunny Leone – in support of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s (MoEF&CC) proposed notification to ban the use of elephants, horses, and all other animals in circuses across the country. The government is expected to vote on the proposal after the public feedback period ends on 27 December. Students who took part include those from Mumbai’s Ajmera Global School and Apostolic Carmel High School and Junior College; Delhi’s Vishal Bharti Public School; and Chennai’s German International School, to name just a few.

PETA India’s signed petition is available upon request.

“It’s never been clearer that the days of forcing intelligent, sensitive animals to perform confusing and often painful tricks for fleeting human amusement are numbered,” says PETA India Associate Director of Celebrity and Public Relations Sachin Bangera. “India is poised to make a great leap to protect animals, and every kind celebrity and youngster who teamed up with PETA India to help push this revolutionary legislation forward will be remembered on the right side of history.”

In 2013, a nine-month government-authorised inspection of 16 circuses across India – as well as other inspections by expert teams from 2013 to 2016 – revealed systemic, widespread abuse of elephants, horses, camels, dogs, birds, and other animals. Drunken circus staff roughly handled animals, handlers were documented beating elephants with ankuses (weapons with a sharp metal hook on one end), and animals were kept continuously chained or caged and deprived of veterinary care, appropriate food, sufficient water, and safe and clean shelter. Many exhibited signs of severe psychological distress, including constant swaying and self-mutilation.

In its nearly two decades of efforts to end the use of animals in circuses, PETA India has elicited help from compassionate celebrities, petitioned the MoEF&CC, worked with government regulatory bodies such as the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Central Zoo Authority, engaged in litigation, organised demonstrations and social media campaigns, and held street-theatre performances.

PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – notes that if this proposal passes, India would join many other countries, including Austria, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Greece, Mexico, and Poland, in banning or restricting the use of animals in circuses.

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