Rajkamal circus was reported to be using animals for performance and treating them in a way that neglected their basic welfare. The animals, including a horse, 2 emus, 9 exotic birds, and 5 dogs were kept without provision of minimum food and water. They were also continuously tortured to perform unnatural tricks in the circus.

 Birds with skin infection and clipped wings

Malnourished horse

The circus also did not possess the mandatory license necessary from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to possess and use animals for performance. FIAPO tracked down the circus to its camp at Malur in Karnataka with the help of its widespread national network, and the condition of animals was brought to the immediate attention of the AWBI.

Following an official authorization, officers conducted an examination of animals in the circus, and reported that the circus had taken no care to ensure their well-being. The horse showed fresh wounds due to beating and whipping. Birds had their primary feathers cut off, making them incapable of flying. The dogs also showed signs of physical and psychological trauma.

Activists then approached the local District administration, who then ordered that all the animals be seized and sent to a permanent care and treatment facility. Following this, the circus also admitted to being incapable of caring for the animals and signed an affidavit that it will henceforth be an animal free, human only circus. All animals have presently been rehabilitated in care facilities where they are recovering.

The present rescue comes as a welcome relief to all animals at Rajkamal circus. It is also testimony to the fact that traveling circuses can seldom cater to even the basic welfare needs of animals. The fact that Rajkamal circus has sworn to be animal free is an example to other circuses in the country to stop continuing the cruel practice of using animals and to instead promote human skills to draw more crowds.

Rajkamal circus is only one of the 53 circuses in India which have made a business out of animal cruelty. Such rescues are possible, thanks to proactive enforcement of animal welfare rules. However, in addition to the present laws, ECS urges the government to completely ban the use of all animals in circuses, so that the next generation does not stand witness to this barbaric practice in the guise of entertainment”