Victory: Following PETA Action, Animals Rescued From Grand Circus

For Immediate Release:
5 May 2015

Dr Manilal Valliyate; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

Six-Hour Discussion with Government Authorised Inspectors Leads Circus Management to Pledge Not to Use Animals for Performances

Thrissur – Following an inspection of Grand Circus initiated by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and conducted by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) authorised inspectors from Animal Rahat—an animal-protection organisation focused on veterinary intervention and supported by PETA India—as well as PAWS Thrissur on 1st and 2nd May, the circus management agreed to relinquish 18 animals to the AWBI immediately for rehabilitation and to become an animal-free, human-only circus. The circus management expressed a desire to allow the animals to lead better lives, which the circus cannot provide. The 7 horses and 10 dogs from Grand Circus have been moved to People for Animals (PFA) Thiruvananthapuram, and the female camel will be moved to the sanctuary run by Animal Rahat in Sangli, Maharashtra, where she will meet her new companion, Waheed, a rescued male camel. PETA India are funding the animals’ treatment, care and maintenance. Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) also supported the rescue effort. Grand Circus is currently camped in Thrissur, Kerala but travels around India.

The inspection of Grand Circus revealed that blind dogs were being housed in cramped and filthy cages, a camel suffering from skin disease was being forced to perform in violation of animal-protection laws and blind, lame and wounded horses had poor body conditions. Photos of the animals’ plight as well as their rescue can be downloaded here, and video footage can be downloaded here.

“The inspection of the animals at Grand Circus proves beyond a doubt that cruelty to animals is inherent in the circus business, a conclusion that has already led numerous countries to ban the use of all animals in circuses”, says PETA India Chief Executive Officer Poorva Joshipura. “We commend Grand Circus for transitioning to using only willing human participants for entertainment.”

“With this development, Grand Circus voluntarily transitions into an animal-free circus. We hope to build on this and create national consensus for ending institutionalized cruelty to animals in circuses,” said Prashanth V, Campaigns Manager, FIAPO which has united Indian animal protection organisations to campaign against animals in circuses. He added, “On behalf of all the organisations working to make circuses in India animal-free, we would like to thank the Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Shri Prakash Javadekar, who has backed the move for animal-free circuses. We are sure that in his tenure, India will legislate away the archaic practice of animals in circuses”.

A nine-month AWBI-authorised inspection of 16 circuses by PETA India, which was conducted from November 2012 to July 2013, found, among other cruelty, the rampant use of torture devices; animals who had died from inadequate care or who had simply “gone missing”; drunken circus staff who handled the animals; nearly constant chaining, 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 other severe eye problems.

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