New Delhi, May 7 : As the world battles a deadly disease that allegedly jumped to humans from other animals, PETA India has shot off a letter to the government to notify the draft rules framed under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and impose a ban on animal performances and exhibition of all animals in circuses, stating that circuses are travelling carriers of zoonotic diseases.
In the letter to the Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry (and) Dairy, the group pointed out that animals commonly used in circuses could transmit zoonotic diseases to humans, such as tuberculosis from elephants, glanders from horses, psittacosis (parrot fever) from birds, camelpox from camels and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which is caused by a coronavirus.
And amid the Covid-19 pandemic, many circuses are stranded at various places and the animals are suffering from lack of water and food, which is unlikely to change for some time as the public continues to be wary of crowds, even as and when the lockdown lifts.
"Hauling stressed and potentially sick animals from town to town for meaningless spectacles is reckless and risky ? it's a disaster waiting to happen," said PETA India CEO Manilal Valliyate.
"PETA India is urging officials to ban the use of animals in circuses to help prevent the risk of another devastating pandemic," Valliyate added.
PETA India noted that in addition to endangering the public, use of animals in circuses is inherently cruel.
Animals are continuously chained or caged and deprived of veterinary care, adequate food, sufficient water and suitable shelter, it said.
They are forced to perform confusing, uncomfortable and even painful tricks and are denied everything natural and important to their well-being.
Many display stereotypic, repetitive behaviour indicative of extreme stress, it added.
PETA India also opposed speciesism, the human-supremacist belief system that other animals exist for us to exploit and commodify.
Other countries that have banned the use of animals in circuses include Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus and Greece.