Grand circus, which was camping in Thrissur, Kerala in May this year was performing with animals in contravention of the PCA act. APOs including PETA India, Animal Rahat and PAWS Thrissur complained about the same to the AWBI, which then authorised an inspection of the circus. Upon inspection of the circus, it was found that all the animals being used were not registered with the AWBI and were being subject to physical and psychological distress. Some of the animals were also being bred without permissions from the Board. The circus could not produce valid vaccination records and fitness certificates for the animals and a horse used for performance was blind.

This blind camel, clearly being forced to perform- has wounds on its body, due to hot iron branding, among other signs of physical abuse

The circus then admitted that it did not have the wherewithal to care for the animals and gave a written request for permanent rehabilitatio1n of the 7 horses, 11 dogs and 1 camel in its custody. Following this the Board gave directions to immediately shift the horses and dogs to PFA Trivandrum and the camel to Animal Rahat rescue center in Sangli, Maharashtra. The entire process from inspection to rehabilitation of animals took place in less than 48 hours as a result of the wonderful coordination between grassroots activists, national organisations and timely action by the AWBI.

It is extremely commendable that the circus inspectors were able to convince the circus to voluntarily give up the animals for rehabilitation owing to the conditions in which they were being kept. The circus also gave an affidavit to the deputy collector, Thrissur that it will henceforth be an animal free circus. Therefore, in addition to being a relief to the animals, the Grand circus rehabilitation also indicates that a change in attitude of circus owners towards the use of animals is achievable. Without being overtly optimistic, we would like to say that the end of institutionalized cruelty to animals in circuses could be nearer than we thought!

Cramped in one filthy cage, these dogs have no access to food or water. They also commonly suffer from blisters on their paws