From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Central Zoo Authority
Mains level : Various threats to wildlife population
- Amid ongoing concerns of animal cruelty, Paris last week outlawed the use of wild animals in circuses in the city.
- France, meanwhile, is still considering enforcing a nation-wide ban on the use of wild animals to perform under the big top.
Why ban wild animals from circuses?
- The debate concerning animal rights, animals being subjected to cruelty and being forced to live and perform in poor conditions have been a long-standing one.
- Although the numbers of wild animals being forced to perform in circuses around the world has dramatically reduced, especially over the past two decades, wild animals continue to be used in circuses in some countries.
- Most of these animals are kept in cages that are too small for their size and in deplorable, filthy conditions.
- The ill-treatment and physical abuse that animals are subjected to in circuses is also common knowledge, especially the circumstances in which they are forced to perform circus acts that are unnatural to them.
- Over the years, these performances under extreme physical and psychological duress lead to prolonged physical and psychological health issues for these animals that cannot perform circus acts.
- In most cases, wild animals are also not evolved for the kind of domestication that circuses put them through.
- Due to these reasons, many countries around the world have outlawed the forcing of wild animals to perform in circuses.
Few instances of abuse
- Elephants, for instance, are forced to stand for prolonged periods on only their hind legs or on one single leg on a stage prop, despite their large bodies, forcing their entire weight on one limb or two limbs.
- Loud music inside the big top, loud microphones and loud cheers and noise from the audience also cause added distress to the animals.
- If animals refuse to perform, circus owners and animal handlers withhold food and subject the creatures to cruelty in a bid to exert control over the creatures.
Other countries with ban
- According to data by the Animal Defenders International (ADI), an animal rights group that monitors the use of animals for human entertainment, most European countries have nationwide bans on wild animals in circuses.
- According to the ADI, France, Germany, Spain, the UK, the US, Canada, Argentina, Brazil & Australia are the nations that presently have only local bans.
India’s stance on wild animals in circuses
- Wild animals have been used in circuses across India for decades, but in November last year, the central government issued draft rules proposing a ban on the use of all animals in circuses.
- Under section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (59 of 1960) MoEFCC proposed the ‘Performing Animals (Registration) (Amendment) Rules, 2018’.
- This issued a “prohibition on exhibiting and training of animals for specified performances.”
- The draft rules added that under these proposed provisions, “no animals shall be used for any performances or exhibition at any circus or mobile entertainment facility.”
- In 2016, the Central Zoo Authority (a national government body that oversees the conditions of animals used in circuses and entertainment) cancelled recognition it had granted to 21 circuses across the country following reports of rampant abuse of animals.