Centre Proposes To Ban The Use Of All Animals In Circuses
Embellishing the pillars of a partially completed flyover project, posters advertising everything from the latest movies to astrological solutions flutter slightly in the wind. Obscured somewhat by one depicting a Bollywood hero’s latest action blockbuster, is a grimy piece of paper with the slowly fading words advertising popular circus. Once highly anticipated events, with people coming from far and wide to watch the spectacular fusion of art and action, circus tents now lie empty, with an audience that gets smaller with each passing year. In a recent development, the central government has decided to ban the use of animals in any form of mobile entertainment, as reported by The Times of India.
The ban will come to effect after 30 days from the day of the announcement, after consultations with the stakeholders.
Performing Animals (Registration) Amendment Rules, 2018
The idea is not a new one. Many other countries, in an attempt to protect animals from the physical and emotional abuse they are at risk of facing at the hands of their masters, have prohibited their use in circus performances. The Centre’s pre-existing albeit widely flouted ban on the use of big cats is now being extended to all animals, saving horses, dogs and elephants (commonly used in circus acts) from a sorry plight. The ban has been proposed in the recently released draft rules, “Performing Animals (Registration) Amendment Rules, 2018”, and will come into effect after a 30 day period for stakeholders to provide their input, as mentioned by The Economic Times.
Shackled in cages that are too small for them, some circus animals are made to repeatedly perform painful routines, and are even beaten at times for mistakes. Their living conditions are often pathetic and they are forced, day in and day out, to contort their bodies into unnatural positions for the entertainment of humans. It’s shameful and depressing. Despite countless warnings to remedy this miserable state of affairs, circus companies paid no heed. “After giving several chances to circus operators, this change is progressive and inevitable”, says Gauri Malekhi, an animal rights activist associated with The People for Animals (PFA), India’s largest animal welfare organization.
It may be noted that as per a 2011 order there has been a ban on the use of lions, tigers, panthers, monkeys, bears and bulls as part of the species-specific rules. This new ban will now extend to all animals.
Flip the coin, and there are some people who would claim that this act will unfairly condemn the circus to a thing of the past. With the decrease in even the human performers in these circuses, the ban on animal performances is seen by some as the step towards the evitable of these spectacles, which in the past attracted a large audience. The fact of the matter is, more often than not, animal exploitation is rampant in circus companies, and putting an end to it is an encouraging sign and a message towards co-existence between man and nature. This is one show that must not go on.