The circus animals are not as amused as they appear to be while they try and entertain the audience. In fact, they are far from feeling anything positive. The circus animals perform the tricks that they do after going through rigorous training that they receive which includes abuse and cruelty.
Animals in wilderness generally spend their time hunting for food, moving around, taking care of their younger ones and spending time with the family. When they are brought down to work at the circuses, they are often starved, kept in cramped cages in filth, and beaten cruelly in order to tame them and intimidate them into performing those tricks. These animals do not get enough food or water, and live in their own waste often. They are subjected to constant pain and fear. They do not receive proper medical care if needed.
Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) has been campaigning for the freedom of these abused animals. The campaign End Circus Suffering, initiated by FIAPO 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.
The outspoken actor Raveena Tandon has now extended her support to this movement by writing a letter to the Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to impose a ‘complete and immediate end’ to the use of all animals in circuses. She joins another actor Dia Mirza, who had also asked the government to end animal circuses.
In the letter, Raveena observed “I believe that it is time we dissociate cruelty from entertainment, and let these majestic creatures be where they belong. Our culture also has many traditional art forms which showcase the skill of our artists. They should be adopted by circuses to evolve into an engaging and healthy entertainment”
The movement for a national legislation to end the use of animal circuses has been gaining momentum. Noted parliamentarians like Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Butta Renuka, KC Ramamoorthy and advocate Prashant Bhushan have also written to the ministry supporting the exclusion of animals from circuses. Both the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) – regulatory bodies for circuses- have recommended a legislative amendment to exclude all animals from circuses, based on numerous and repeated violation of rules, and cruelty to animals.
Ms Varda Mehrotra, Director of the FIAPO said, “The process of training animals to perform unnatural tricks is inherently abusive, as shown in numerous 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. It is time the ministry acted”
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.
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The CSR Journal Team