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Eighteen Body Shop Employees Caged For PETA India Protest Of Circus Cruelty On World Animal Day

For Immediate Release:

4 October 2013

Contact:

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

Photos from the event are available here and here.

London – Locked in cages stacked on top of one another and holding signs that read, "Try to Relate to Their Fate – Ban Animal Circuses", employees of The Body Shop and members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India protested in Mumbai today against the use of animals in circuses. The action marks World Animal Day (4 October) and comes in the wake of PETA India's nine-month investigation of 16 circuses across India that revealed rampant abuse of elephants, horses, camels, dogs, birds and other animals. PETA India and employees of The Body Shop are calling on the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to follow the lead of Bolivia, Cyprus, Greece and Austria by introducing legislation to enact a ban on the use of animals in circuses.

"The Body Shop has always refused to test products on animals. When we learned from PETA [India] that animals in circuses are chained, beaten and denied everything that's natural and important to them – all for a lifetime of cheap tricks – we knew we had to act", says The Body Shop's Prakash Kamat. "It's time that the [Indian] government banned the archaic use of animals in circuses, and parents should know that if their kids love animals, the last place they should take them to is the circus. The Body Shop has inculcated its values in us, and we're proud to support PETA [India] in this life-saving initiative under our employees' volunteering programme, Aashe."

PETA India's investigation by experienced veterinarians who are also qualified as animal welfare assessors, along with other inspectors recognised as Honorary Animal Welfare Officers by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), found the following, among other abuses:

  • Weapons – including nail-studded sticks, whips, clubs and ankuses (iron hooks with spear-like ends) – were commonly used, and bleeding wounds from the weapons were visible on animals.
  • Animals had died from inadequate care or had simply gone "missing".
  • Drunken circus staff handled animals.
  • Elephants, dogs, cats, birds and other animals were almost constantly chained or caged.
  • Elephants, camels, dogs and other animals showed signs of severe psychological distress, including constant swaying, circling and even self-mutilation.
  • Elephants and other animals who were nearly blind or had severe eye problems were still forced to perform.
  • Old, injured and ill animals were also forced to perform.
  • Birds had their wings crudely cut to prevent them from flying.
  • Animals had inadequate food, water and shelter.
  • Frightened animals were forced to perform dangerous acts, such as jumping through hoops of fire, in apparent violation of the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001 (PAR).
  • Animals who were not registered with the AWBI were still used, and some animals were forced to perform acts not registered with the AWBI, in apparent violation of the PAR.
  • An untrained, underage child was employed by a circus to shoe a horse. (Ill-fitted shoes can cause permanent damage, pain and suffering.)
  • The Rajkamal Circus kept an elephant tusk, apparently illegally.
  • There was evidence of falsification of documents declaring even pregnant and ill animals fit for transport.
  • Animals were bred, and the resulting offspring were not registered with the AWBI.
  • Ill and injured animals had been denied veterinary care, including for fungal infections, bursitis, dermatitis, alopecia, pus-filled wounds, cataracts, lameness, osteoarthritis and deformed hooves.

PETA India points out that the Rambo Circus has held shows without the use of animals at the Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai and that the Great Champion Circus enjoys success without using animals in performances. One of the most internationally renowned and popular circuses in the world, Cirque du Soleil, also uses only willing human performers.

PETA India's complete reports, photographs and videos from the investigation are available upon request. For more information on animals used in entertainment, please click here or visit PETA.org.uk. #