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Most Indian circuses disregard ban on using big cats

This circus still has a tusk force

Express Features
First Published : 22 Dec 2009 07:33:58 AM IST
Last Updated : 22 Dec 2009 10:33:12 AM IST

BANGALORE: Your ‘favourite’ (or so they claim) Gemini Circus is back in the city.

And so are the elephants.

Wondering what happened to the recent notification according to which the elephants cannot be kept in zoos? Mind you, the definition of zoos includes circus also in the Wildlife Protection Act.

What about Bollywood bimbette Celina Jaitley’s sincere attempts to save these elephants in captivity? “After coming to Mumbai and visiting other parts of India, I have seen so many elephants who are kept in such bad conditions in captivity. I think PETA has taken a very good step, and I am proud to be associated with this cause,” she made a serious comment.

Obviously, it’s then surprising to see these elphants dancing to the tunes of its trainer in the city circus.

An insider, not wanting to be quoted for obvious reasons, said, “It’s only in India that this kind of tamasha happens. You go to any part of the world and will find all kinds of animals in circuses.” When asked about the legal angle to his side of the story, the man, sounding really angry, said, “They’ve taken all other animals — tigers, lions, cheetah and monkeys — we’ve still not got any official notice about the use of elephants.” “The Performing Animals Rules prohibit the use of few animals in circus. According to the rule, lions, tigers, monkey and panthers should not be used in the circus, however, elephants are not included in the rules,” Brinda Nanda, the Animal Rights Advocate.

The recent notification regarding prohibition of keeping animals in zoos did not come into force because the Centre has yet to make rules regarding proper accommodation of the elephants, added Brinda.

Till then, it’s still not such a ‘big’ issue for circus owners, as someone closely watching this circus (pun intended) from inside pointed it out: “Of course, our business will suffer if we have to give away these elephants but there’s nothing much we can do about it. We take care of these animals like no one else and deserve them more than anyone else.” What do you have to say? YOUR ‘favourite’ (or so they claim) Gemini Circus is back in the city.

And so are the elephants.

Wondering what happened to the recent notification according to which the elephants cannot be kept in zoos? Mind you, the definition of zoos includes circus also in the Wildlife Protection Act.

What about Bollywood bimbette Celina Jaitley’s sincere attempts to save these elephants in captivity? “After coming to Mumbai and visiting other parts of India, I have seen so many elephants who are kept in such bad conditions in captivity. I think PETA has taken a very good step, and I am proud to be associated with this cause,” she made a serious comment.

Obviously, it’s then surprising to see these elphants dancing to the tunes of its trainer in the city circus.

An insider, not wanting to be quoted for obvious reasons, said, “It’s only in India that this kind of tamasha happens. You go to any part of the world and will find all kinds of animals in circuses.” When asked about the legal angle to his side of the story, the man, sounding really angry, said, “They’ve taken all other animals — tigers, lions, cheetah and monkeys — we’ve still not got any official notice about the use of elephants.” “The Performing Animals Rules prohibit the use of few animals in circus. According to the rule, lions, tigers, monkey and panthers should not be used in the circus, however, elephants are not included in the rules,” Brinda Nanda, the Animal Rights Advocate.

The recent notification regarding prohibition of keeping animals in zoos did not come into force because the Centre has yet to make rules regarding proper accommodation of the elephants, added Brinda.

Till then, it’s still not such a ‘big’ issue for circus owners, as someone closely watching this circus (pun intended) from inside pointed it out: “Of course, our business will suffer if we have to give away these elephants but there’s nothing much we can do about it. We take care of these animals like no one else and deserve them more than anyone else.” What do you have to say?

PLAYING THE WILD CARD

* There are laws designed to protect animals in circuses. They include

* The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 (PCA Act)

* The Performing Animals (Registration) Rules of 2001 under the PCA Act

* The Wild Life Protection Act of 1972 (WLPA) (as amended in 1991)

* The International C.I.T.E.S. (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) treaty that protects endangered animals and provisions under the Indian constitution.

* But the laws are rarely enforced. Officials look the other way when circuses come to town.

* The former union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Maneka Gandhi, banned the use of bears, monkeys, tigers, lions and panthers in circuses in October 1998.

* Still, most circuses in India disregard this law. Some circuses refuse to give up the banned animals and demand financial compensation even though they are breaking the law.

Source: www.petaindia.com

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=This+circus+still+has+a+tusk+force&artid=xumP2tQi%7CP0=&SectionID=Qz/kHVp9tEs=&MainSectionID=Qz/kHVp9tEs=&SEO=&SectionName=UOaHCPTTmuP3XGzZRCAUTQ==

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