Media Centre

Vijender Singh Deals a Heavy Blow to Circus Cruelty in New PETA India Ad

For Immediate Release:

1 April 2014

Contact:

Ben Williamson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229; BenW@peta.org.uk

India's First Olympic Boxing Medallist and Fugly Star Stands Firmly for Animal Rights by Urging Fans to Say No to Animal Circuses

London – Showing off his knuckles and posing next to the tagline "Knock Out Cruelty: Boycott Animal Circuses", Olympic bronze medallist, acclaimed Indian boxer, Fugly star and new dad Vijender Singh stars in a brand-new ad for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India. Following PETA India's recent investigation of 16 Indian circuses, Singh – who is the first Indian to win an Olympic medal in boxing and who also won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, India's highest sporting honour – wants people to know that animals in circuses are deprived of everything that's natural and important to them and are regularly beaten, all for a lifetime of cheap tricks. The ad was shot by ace photographer Anil Chawla. Singh's make-up and hair were done by Anu Mehra.

"Animals cherish their freedom every bit as much as we do, but circuses deny them their freedom and every other form of natural expression", Singh says. "I'm asking people ... to help knock out cruelty by never attending a circus that uses animals." Singh's interview as well as behind-the-scenes video footage is available here, and the broadcast-quality interview is available here

PETA India's recent investigation showed that animals in circuses are subjected to chronic confinement, physical abuse and psychological torment. Whips and other weapons – including ankuses, which are heavy, sharp steel-tipped rods – are used to inflict pain on animals and beat them into submission. Animals perform confusing, dangerous tricks – such as jumping through rings of fire – not because they want to but out of fear of violent punishment.

In its official 39th general meeting minutes, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) confirmed, "In view of the [PETA India] report, the Board decided to stop immediate performance of all the injured and aged animals in the circuses mentioned in the report and seize them after making arrangement for rehabilitation with some of the [animal welfare organisations] and Zoos". The notes further stated, "The Board decided to stop registration of elephants for performance under Performing Animals Rules in view of huge cruelties and abuse suffered by them". The notes also indicate support for a ban on the use of animals in circuses. PETA India is now also calling on the AWBI to implement the decisions it made during this general meeting, which was held in August.

For years, the UK government has been promising to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. PETA UK is encouraging its supporters to write to their MP by clicking here and ask him or her to urge them to ensure that the ban goes ahead in 2015 as promised.

For more information on the use of wild animals in circuses, please visit PETA.org.uk.

#