Report on plight of circus animals, central body asks states

The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) -- a central government advisory body -- has directed the states and Union Territories (UTs) to identify the circuses stranded in their respective districts, inspect animals kept by them, and submit a comprehensive report on each such circus to it.
Report on plight of circus animals, central body asks states
Representative Image (Photo: Youtube)

New Delhi

A PETA India statement also said that the Board had directed for information on housing conditions and feeding practices adopted by these circuses amid the nationwide coroanvirus lockdown, and verify Performing Animal Registration Certificates on number and species of animals registered with the AWBI.
The AWBI -- established under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960 -- also shared a list of registered circuses in India, for information and necessary action.
Functioning under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, the Board issued the direction on May 22.
In its order, the Board mentioned that number of circuses were stuck across the country and these were unable to ensure the well-being of their animals or provide these animals with food, water, and veterinary care during the lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, causing them unnecessary suffering.
Citing Section 3 of the PCA Act, the Board said it was the responsibility of the person in charge of an animal to prevent them from experiencing any unnecessary pain or suffering.
Under Section 11 (1) (f), the Board said it was cruel to keep an animal tethered with a short or heavy chain or cord for an unreasonable length of time.
"Section 11 (1) (g) mandates that no one may neglect to exercise a dog by keeping the animal chained up or in close confinement."
"Under Section 11 (1) (h), any failure to provide an animal with sufficient food, water, or shelter is a punishable offence, and Section 11 (1) (i) states that it is cruel to abandon an animal to suffer from starvation or dehydration," the order says.
Considering these rules, the Board asked the State Animal Welfare Boards or the State Animal Husbandry Departments to identify such circuses so as to inspect the condition of animals.
The action was taken following a complaint by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, which raised concerns over the plight of circus animals, a statement from PETA India said.
"We commend the action taken by the AWBI toward ensuring that animals in circuses are not being cruelly housed and deprived of basic necessities," says PETA India CEO Dr Manilal Valliyate.
PETA India recently sent a letter to Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries Minister to urge him to notify Draft Rules framed under the PCA Act, 1960, that would ban performance and exhibition of all animals in circuses.
In 2017, through an advisory issued to the central government, the AWBI recommended the implementation of strong legislation to end the use of animals in circuses for various reasons, including cruelty, rampant violations of law, and unworkable nature of existing regulatory framework.

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