Karsten Miranda,TNN | Mar 11, 2014
MARGAO: After an inspection of the animals at the Moonlight circus that haven’t been fed properly since March 1, show cause notices were issued to the owners of the circus prior to cancellation of their performing animal registration with the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and cancellation of the registration of the circus by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA).
This was in pursuant to complaints filed by Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA), Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre (WRCC) and the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO).
After the crime branch arrested the circus owner and five other persons on charges of human trafficking and rape, the animals at the circus were left to starve and were recently shifted to Kudal in Maharashtra.
Puja Mitra, campaign manager, FIAPO, who first took up the issue with the Goa forest department about the welfare of the elephants at the circus site along with the other animals has appealed to the government to set up an animal rescue centre in Goa.
Mitra, who is based in Goa, added that with the creation of rescue centres, the elephants rescued from circuses can live the remainder of their life in natural surroundings without being forced to perform. “While it is cruel for any animal to be used in performance, it is even more so, in the case of the elephant,” added Mitra.
During the inspection of the circus that has four elephants, the AWBI team noted that the animals were also being subjected to cruelty using spiked foot belt to restrict their movement which are banned. Dr R M Kharb, chairman of the AWBI, pointed out that this is in violation of Section 11(1) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and that transportation rules had also been violated.
Kharb also requested that ‘immediate’ steps be taken to ask the Maharashtra wildlife department to move the wild animals especially the elephants from the Moonlight circus to safe shelters and a final decision about their rehabilitation be taken in due course.
“The effort now should be to remove the animals to safe holdings immediately while the formalities and paper work can continue, otherwise the animals are liable to disappear to unknown places,” said Suparna Ganguly, co-founder trustee of CUPA.