India has 53 travelling circuses with over 560 animals within them, who are subjected to harsh training from a young age using negative conditioning of torture and punishment.

Once an animal is in a circus, he/she lives a life characterised by boredom, stress, and pain. Animals in circuses are either stolen from the wild or bought through a network of illegal breeders and middlemen. They have no families and are often separated from their young ones at an early age.

Circus animals do not get enough exercise or opportunities for socialisation, which is a prerequisite for physical and mental health. Caging in extremely small enclosures or tying with short tethers for up to 22 hours a day causes permanent damage to their bodies, thus subjecting them to enormous mental stress. Continuous transport from one camp to the other, lack of adequate food and water, medical attention and hygiene all contribute to the telltale signs of physical and psychological trauma.

Trainers resort to the most brutal techniques (unending hours of torture using whips, pokes, sticks and other devices designed to inflict pain, including burning and mutilation), to break the animals’ spirit and transform them into submissive, mechanical beings. Animals perform, not out of love for their trainer, but to avoid his/her wrath.

Such cruelty to animals is illegal, as is the very use of animals, without necessary license from the government, which most animal circuses don't possess. The seemingly simple act of watching an animal perform, therefore, encourages legal and ethical violations against animals, which we are constitutionally bound to protect.

End Circus Suffering (ECS) is a national campaign to stop the suffering, of all animals in circuses. FIAPO works with partner organisations to end the use of animals in circuses by lobbying the Government and local authorities, raising awareness, generating public opinion and initiating direct action.

Circuses performing with animals in India are required to be registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) under the Performing Animal Registration Rules, 2001, as well as with the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) under the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 2009, if performing with exotic animals. However, most circuses in the country, either do not possess the above paperwork or operate in blatant violation of the conditions of registration. Till date, ECS has rescued 167 animals from 13 circuses across India. The campaign has also been able to mobilise and create a strong network of 114 activists, from 45 organisations across 18 states.

The findings of our investigations of individual circuses have been published as a report, which can be downloaded here.

Our appeal to pass a legislation prohibiting the use of animals in circuses has been supported by many prominent public figures including Members of Parliament, Senior Lawyers and Actors and as a result of continuous lobbying with regulatory bodies- the AWBI and the CZA- we have succeeded in impressing upon them the inherent nature of cruelty in circuses.

The campaign is presently lobbying the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to respond to its demand. ECS also plans to appeal to the Prime Minister and the President of India to intervene in case there is no response from the ministry.

Joining the Campaign and signing the petition: Appeal the Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to ban the use of all animals in circuses. Sign the petition here.

Reporting a Circus: If you see a circus visiting your town performing with animals, write to us at and we will help you take action.

Organising a demonstration:   Send a message out to the public and the government by holding a peaceful demonstration in your city. Simply write to us at and we will help you plan.

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Sign the Petition!

End Circus Suffering Petition

I, the undersigned, as a concerned citizen urge Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Hon'ble Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to ban the use of all animals in circuses in India.

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Success Stories

Each rescue has a story. Here are accounts of successful rescues of circus animals.