Kolar, Karnataka – Following a pro-active tacking process by FIAPO via its national network, Rajkamal circus was found to be using 17 animals illegally for performance and keeping them in the most inhuman conditions. FIAPO brought the same to the notice of relevant government officials, along with photographs and videos of the animals being abused. The officials then ordered that the animals and birds at the circus be seized and rehabilitated at a suitable care facility. Working with national and local partners, we were able to mobilise law enforcement and the local district administration to rescue the 5 dogs, 2 emus, 9 exotic birds and 1 horse which were leading a life of servitude in the circus.

The circus also recognised its inability to cater to the basic welfare needs of the animals and signed an affidavit promising never to use animals again. This is a significant positive step towards recognising that animals are not meant for our entertainment by circuses themselves and making the shift towards human only enterprises.

The official inspection team established that the circus was using animals in violation of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001. The inspectors further documented that attempts were made to force a reluctant horse to run in circles and that a dog refused to comply with the instructions of the ringmaster. The dogs were also forced to roll on the ground, jump over multiple obstacles, push a trolley, hold an umbrella and walk only on their hind legs. The birds were forced to climb up and down a ladder, sit on a see-saw and swing, and move in circles holding onto a ring using their beak. Birds’ flight feathers were found to be cut off, rendering them incapable of flight. A human performer was observed handling them inhumanely by forcing them to hold on to the stick using their beaks as well as moving them in the air violently, causing them to struggle for balance. The animals were kept in unhygienic conditions and were not being provided with adequate food and water.

Prashanth V, campaign manager at FIAPO, said, “We are extremely glad that grassroots- and national organisations could work collectively to secure freedom for all abused animals at Rajkamal circus. That the circus has voluntarily relinquished animals indicates that these establishments are unable to adequately care for the animals in their custody. Nationwide support for animal free circuses is growing by the day and 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.”

Date: 24/05/2016