New Delhi (December 7 2016): In a monumental decision for animals in circuses, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has passed orders cancelling its recognition to 21 circuses. This means that circuses across the country (except Ajanta circus, whose animals are under scrutiny) can no longer house wild animals like elephants. The CZA has passed these orders following official inspections in which extreme cruelty to animals was reported. Dr. D N Singh, head of CZA said “in addition to the written reports, we commissioned photo and video footage of animals kept in circuses and what we saw was horrible. The conditions in which animals were kept in these circuses were far below the recommended standards. This is no way to keep any animal, let alone a heritage animal like the elephant. The CZA, taking serious note of the same, cancelled recognition to all these circuses”. Going a step further, the CZA has directed the Chief Wildlife Wardens of states to rehabilitate the elephants from derecognized circuses.

**The complete list of all circuses prohibited from keeping wild animals is given in the annexure.

Prashanth V, Senior Campaign Manager, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) said “we welcome the move by the CZA which is a validation of the fact that circuses are universally cruel to animals. The process of training animals to perform unnatural tricks is inherently abusive, as shown in the inspection reports. FIAPO reiterates its appeal to the ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to take note of this and ban the use of all animals in circuses”.

FIAPO’s End Circus Suffering, campaign has so far enabled the rehabilitation of more than 160 abused animals from 15 circuses. The Federation, supported by 82 members and over 200 NGOs nationwide, has also submitted a detailed report of the ‘State of Animals in Circuses in India’ to the MoEF&CC. FIAPO’s investigations have shown animals with broken bones; infectious diseases; permanent physical and mental disorders; crippled animals that can’t even walk being forced by circuses to perform tricks.

More than 40 organisations and 100 activists from 16 states have been involved with detecting and reporting cruelty to animals in circuses, as part of the End Circus Suffering campaign initiated by the Federation. The campaign has revealed violation of multiple provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA) and the Preforming Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001 (PARR) by circuses. From cutting the flight feathers of birds to chaining elephants with spikes, circuses train animals under the harshest conditions to make them perform acts that are completely unnatural to them. The entire process of breaking these innocent creatures during training includes burning them with hot iron, piercing their genitals, threatening them with fire, tying them for days on end without food or water among other gruesome acts. Displaying such abused creatures for entertainment is a reflection of circuses’ callous attitude towards suffering of animals.

Date : 07 December 2016